July 31, 2018
A special thank you to Kyle Unruh for sharing a students perspective of her time at Hays Academy of Hair Design. Hays Academy, with campuses in Hays and Salina Kansas strives to produce the most hirable, financially responsible graduates in the country. Thanks Kyle for taking the time to write this blog, we couldn’t of said it any better!
In my first days as a student at Hays Academy, a phrase I remember hearing over and over again was, “Get comfortable being uncomfortable”. I’m certain that at the time, many of us students, including myself, probably rolled our eyes whenever we heard that phrase. As I complete my journey at Hays Academy and reflect over the past year, I believe that one of my greatest lessons learned will be how to be ok with being uncomfortable.
In the Beginning
In the beginning of cosmetology school, I remember feeling terrified. I was venturing into unknown territory. There are few classes, if any, in high school that prepared me for the field of cosmetology. Some students enter cosmetology school quite comfortable using hair styling tools. Some enter having a vast knowledge about makeup and hair color. Some students, like me, enter cosmetology school with very little knowledge or skills in any of those areas. It took me some time to realize it, but eventually I understood that it was ok. I was willing to learn and Hays Academy was there to teach me and to walk beside me as I learned. Something I’ve understood over time, is that cosmetologists are always learning. Cosmetology students and licensed cosmetologists alike, are always learning the newest trends. While I caused myself some frustration in the beginning by not being able to learn everything all at once, it became comforting for me to know that this industry is always changing and there are always opportunities to learn more. Even the most advanced stylists benefit from learning new methods and trends.
Classroom work to Clients
While the classroom work may have been challenging, it wasn’t as intimidating as the first day “on the floor” working with clients. Classwork has one right answer and if you pick the wrong answer, no one is upset. However, client satisfaction is the ultimate goal for a stylist and there are many factors that affect client satisfaction. In my first few days working with clients, I learned quickly about what it means to get comfortable being uncomfortable. I think that being slightly uncomfortable has helped me to stay alert and focused on my clients. Good communication skills have become very important between myself and my clients. They have helped prevent undesirable results. While I have always been a “people person”, learning to visit with clients while trying to learn new technical skills has been a challenge. I have done my best to learn how to appear being comfortable, even when I am feeling challenged.
Being Comfortable with my own Image
In my opinion, being comfortable with my own image as a stylist has taught me how to help my clients when they may be a little uneasy about approaching a new style in the salon. I first pursued a career in cosmetology because I had a desire to assist others in finding their true beauty and being comfortable in their own image. I am a firm believer that beauty should be determined from within. However, I do know that it is sometimes hard for a person to realize their inner beauty when they are not comfortable with their outer appearance. I can attest to this from personal experience. In my high school years, I wasn’t comfortable with the way I looked. I was determined to change my outer self, so I started running and eating healthier. During this transformation, I started taking care of my skin, using makeup, styling my hair and dressing nicer. I became more confident and comfortable with my outer appearance. My inner beauty surfaced and thrived because of this . I chose the field of cosmetology because I wanted to help others become more comfortable with their outer beauty so that their inner beauty could shine through.
Prescribing Proper Retail
A skill that many cosmetologists may struggle with at first, but must excel in, is prescribing proper retail products for clients. This skill is one that I have practiced many times with my clients, and am still perfecting each day. Along with some many other things, cosmetologists must keep learning how to properly educate themselves and their clients when determining the most suitable products for specific hair types. Talking about “retail” is something that can be uncomfortable for both clients and cosmetologists. However, it doesn’t have to be! For me, it is always important to be clear with my clients that the products I am recommending are NOT just a way for me to make an “extra dollar.” I do my best to find products for my clients that will benefit them, and provide them with the extra styling help and hair care that they need until they come sit in my chair again. It is also important for me to explain to my clients why I am recommending the products I am, and what the benefits out of using those items will be to them. Getting to know each client’s hair type and their needs can be challenging, but that’s where furthering education is helpful.
As I conclude my time at Hays Academy and begin the next step of my career journey as a stylist at The Cut Above Salon in my hometown of Hillsboro, I appreciate the many ways that being uncomfortable has helped me to grow as a person and as a stylist. I take confidence in the many skills I have learned in my time at Hays Academy. I am also confident in the fact that I am still learning and will continue to learn. While I am learning, I will always be a little uncomfortable. And that is ok.