Friday, July 17, 2015

The Nail School Chronicle: The End of the Journey

Hello Loves!  I'm back from my little break with SOOOOOOO much stuff to share with you!  Oh my goodness, I'm completely overwhelmed.  I have products coming out of my ears between the wonderful companies I work with and the Nail Tech Event of the Smokies last weekend.  But I figured the best place to start is with the end, right?  The end of my Nail School journey, that is.

I've put a lot of thought into what I want to say in this post.  Honestly, I could write a novel about my experience - the good, the bad and the ugly.  But I'll try to keep it on the shorter side.  Where do I even start?  lol

When I made the decision to go back to school, I knew it would be difficult.  Not only is the school over an hour away (you know, we measure distance in time in the South), but I have two young children who just started daycare and were determined to catch every germ within a 50 mile radius.  But that wasn't the biggest worry for me.  I'm not exactly a stranger to this industry, and some of you speculated that I might get bored.  Even that wasn't my biggest hurdle.  I suffer from GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder).  It is both a blessing and a curse.  While it does cause me to worry about things more than I should, it also causes me to research EVERYTHING to death in order to calm those worries.  My quest for knowledge is unending.  I have to know the science, the history, the ins and outs of everything.  It can make me a difficult student to teach.  I'll completely own that.  lol  But it also gives me a drive that is unrivaled.

My first week of class, my instructor said something profound that really stuck with me.  She said (and I'm paraphrasing here) "When you make the decision to do something that will change your life for the better, the Devil will do everything in his power to try to stop you.  You have to push forward.  Don't let him win."  Believe me, truer words have never been spoken.  During my school journey, my kids stayed sick.  Keith was in that horrible wreck.  And my health took a beating.  It took almost two months longer than scheduled for me to finish school.  But I didn't give up.  I dug my heels in and told the Devil to get lost.  It was hard.  Things piled up on me that made me question my choice to change careers.  I questioned whether I really have what it takes to make it in this industry.  Do I have the talent?  The personality?  The will?  There were many nights that I cried myself to sleep.

So let me say this:

But I have something that a lot of people don't have.  I have YOU!  You stood behind me and cheered me on.  You encouraged me not to give up.  Many of you sent me emails and messages through facebook.  You reminded me why I started this journey, and you gave me the support I needed to get through it.  When we were financially drained, YOU picked us up so I could carry on.  It is because of YOU that I am able to write this post.  It is because of YOU that I was able to leave my mark on the board at GCI as a 2015 Graduate of the Nail Technology Program.  I don't have the words to even begin to express my gratitude.  I'm tearing up just writing this.  From the bottom of my heart, thank you!  Thank you for the support.  Thank you for the encouragement.  Thank you for being dedicated readers of this little blog.  Thank you for believing in me.

I bet you're wondering what I wrote?  "Never let anyone stand in the way of your dreams" of course!

And here is the group photo with my classmates.  There are a few missing from this shot.  :(  Sorry about the quality...I forgot my camera so I had to borrow Mr. Wayne's photos from his phone.  Yeah, I'm failing left and right at this blogging thing.  lol

So how did the last week go?  It was honestly the most difficult week of the entire course.  I wanted to finish before the Nail Tech Event of the Smokies, so I pretty much camped out at the school.  12+ hour days all week, grabbing every client and student I could to finish.  I guess you could say that my final week was the most realistic to a hopping salon setting of them all.  I actually finished last Thursday at 6:45 pm.  I finished the credits before then, but thought I needed to stay until 9:30 for my hours.  I apparently miscalculated a little.  So I spent my last hours applying one last set of nails to my mannequin hand.  These are permanent - glued to the hand to serve as a reminder of my time at GCI.  Of course, I had to include the Calla Lily, which is the school flower.

I was working on this when Ms. Vee came over and told me I could start packing my things because I was finished.  I decided to stay a little longer so I could finish the nails.  As you can see in the photo, I had my instructors and classmates sign the hand when I was done.  Ms. Vee is the night instructor, so I couldn't leave without getting her to sign it.  I didn't even have time to knock the dust off.  lol

True story...I finished my requirements a day before I expected and my classmates had already left for the day.  They were expecting me to finish on Friday and brought snacks to celebrate.  Since I needed them to sign my hand, I went in Friday morning for a little while to do the whole "graduation thing" and say goodbye.  I'm missing a few signatures, but I'll get those when I go back in a week or two to set up my state board exams.  I met some wonderful ladies and gentlemen during my time at GCI, and I'm going to miss them.  I've spent this week at home with my children, but I already miss the school.  Sure, it wasn't always sunshine and roses while I was there, but I made some great connections and met some fabulous people.

Let's do a short recap of the program, shall we?  The curriculum for nail technology courses in GA is very much focused on the foundation type stuff.  Basic manicure and pedicure procedures.  Acrylic application.  Nail wrap application.  That kind of thing.  We covered a little bit of gel, but not much.  It was centered heavily around the state board practical exam requirements.  Theory covered much more - from business to nail disorders and diseases to nail services.  Walking into GCI, I knew a lot about gel.  Walking out, I know a lot about nails, acrylic, polish, and people.  I would love to say that I walked into the school knowing everything, but I didn't.  I learned a lot and am very thankful for the experience.  I also determined without a doubt that I am meant to teach.  Be it as an instructor or a brand educator, teaching is where I belong.  So while this is the end of my Nail Technology course journey, it is only the beginning of my educational journey.  There are many more chapters left to write!

In closing, I'm sure some of you are wondering if I recommend Georgia Career Institute for the Nail Technology Course.  The answer is YES!  Most definitely YES.  GCI has made a huge impact on my life.  I know very few of you are in the Atlanta GA area, so allow me to say this:  If you are considering joining the Nail Industry, don't let anyone stand in your way.  Find a school.  Make it work.  Follow your dreams.  You won't regret it.  :)



  1. I wish you could see what I see in you. You "GET IT" in every aspect. You are going to be enormously successful in this industry with what ever avenue you choose.

  2. So much happiness for you, Michelle. I am so glad you persevered through everything that you had to endure! You are an amazing woman and I'm sending you all the best! <3

  3. Wohooo, many, many congratulations, you did it!! :D :D :D

  4. So happy for you Michelle. Really pleased you have now made it to the end :) you deserve it x

  5. So happy for you Michelle. Really pleased you have now made it to the end :) you deserve it x

  6. Woop!!! Woop!!! I'm so proud of you Michelle. Your perseverence after everything that was thrown at you is remarkable. I got goosebumps when you said "teaching is where I belong". You will be THE most amazing teacher. Congratulations sweet lady. XO

  7. I'm so happy for you! Despite all the hurdles life threw at you... you overcame each and every one of them!!!! Congratulations!

  8. Congratulations Michelle! I'm so happy for you, I know how hard it was for you at times, and you made it! I am excited to see where you go next!!!

  9. I'm just so happy this post exists. :)

  10. Well we all knew you could (and should) do it. Sorry it got tough for you at times, but you made it through. Yay! Congratulations on graduating. I am so excited for you and cannot wait to see where this takes you. Keep up the blog and let us know. Bravo!

  11. Congratulations Michelle! We can't wait to see where your experience will take you! You go, girl!!!


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