Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Beauty School Drop-out (some girls can't hack it)

There is grumbling in the halls of our school these days over an ex-student who attended VSB for a total of 20 hours last month before pulling out. Her original explanation to the school 'officials' was that her day job was in the real estate title industry and since the economy is pretty much shit these days, she really couldn't afford to shell out the fundage for beauty school. Her original explanation to some of her classmates was that this was not the environment she thought it would be and felt she may have better luck at a different school.

VSB is very much an "on your own" education environment. They have a flexible schedule, with only a single set "classroom" time one day a week for cosmos, one for nail techs, one for barber students and one for the esthetics students. The rest is a much more learn on your own pace. It kind of has to be. I guess I happened to start in March with a larger number of students (about 5 or 6 cosmos and 3 or 4 esthetics students) and though we cosmos started our 1600 hour quest the same day, none of us are at the same point. There are girls who come all day for three or four days a week, but not all five. There are others who come for maybe 6 hours a day, five days a week. The point is that every one is there to learn how and when they want. I am determined to get through the program by Thanksgiving, so in some ways, I may be further along than some of the others in my starting class. However, seeing as how a couple of the Hispanic students who started with me but don't come every day, work at a salon on their off days, they may be a bit more 'experienced' in the industry than I am. There really is no real gauge to say who is where except your own personal comfort level. (Actually, even that is a bad gauge because we have brand new students who are still learning the various cuts on their manikin heads and feel they are ready to work on live customers. I've seen their cuts. They're not.)

I know when people hear school, they think structured classrooms with bells and pencils and homework and taking notes from lectures. There is a little bit of that, but not like you'd think. It's more like an apprenticeship, learning on the clinic floor, hands on the chemicals and tools and doing bookwork on the down time.

I think our more recent drop out was expecting that and was disappointed when she learned that was not going to be an reality within these walls. Like I learned from Randy Pausch's Last Lecture, walls are obstacles to basically weed out the people who really don't want to achieve that dream. If you want something badly enough, you'll find a way around that wall to reach it. Clearly, she didn't want it badly enough.

So little Miss Drop-Out is Public Enemy 1 these days at our school because when she found out she was going to be held to the contract she signed when she enrolled at the school, she wasn't happy. In fact, she was so unhappy, she felt the need to write the owner a two page letter about what was wrong with the school in her eyes and one of the big thorns in her paw was the fact that despite the fact our hours say 9 am to 8 pm, we generally close around 7:30. We don't usually have customers in that late and for those of us who are there from open to close, that last half hour can add a lot of time to our personal evenings if we aren't there. Apparently, the owner did not know this little tidbit of information and now, we all have to stay open until 8 pm, customers or no customers.

Yes, it seems petty and silly and really, what is 30 minutes?? But if you are ever in the area and have nothing better to do, come drop in on me and pay me a visit. You can sit with us and see how antsy we are to get out and on our way.

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