You’ve dreamt of cosmetology for half your life. You’ve gone through the arduous application process and felt the thrill of being accepted on a course, and now the day is nearly here… your first day at cosmetology school!
But suddenly you find yourself racked with nerves and unsure exactly what to expect. Well never fear – we’re here to help!
The first day in any new environment can be daunting, so it’s understandable if you feel a little nervous. Our top tips will make sure you get off to a good start and sail through your first day.
Before the day
Swot up on the latest trends
It probably goes without saying that a good cosmetologist needs to be up to date-with the latest fashions. Given that you’ve chosen this as a career path you probably know a lot already.
But remember that your clients won’t all be like you, so it’s worth trying to read a variety of info from different sources; make sure you know what’s in style across a whole range of groups. Swot up and try to think about what might be in style for different ages and ethnicities, not just your own.
Don’t worry, you won’t be tested on your first day, but it’s always good to show you’re taking your subject seriously and not get caught out in any group conversations.
And when tests do come, you can use the ultimate cosmetology exam cheat sheet to prepare.
Do the pre-reading
Another one that probably sounds obvious, but you’d be amazed how many people fail to properly prepare for their first day.
The chances are you’ll have been sent an orientation guide or something similar, telling you all the details you need to know – including exactly what you need to bring!
Make sure you’ve read and re-read this guide so you know exactly where to go and what to bring on your first day.
Give yourself plenty of time to buy the right equipment and don’t skimp too much on costs: while it can be expensive, in the long run it’s worth investing in products that will last.
And some extra prep
So you’ve done the essential pre-reading, including memorizing the orientation guide and buying all the right gear. How else can you prep?
Thanks to the internet there are literally hundreds of resources to help you. Start with vlogs and blogs about what to expect (like this one!) but if time allows, also try to think about which skills it may be useful to brush up on in advance – after all cosmetology includes a whole range of necessary subject areas:
- Math: this is not only handy in the salon, but also if you look to start your own business in future. Check out this great blog on how math can help budding cosmetologists.
- Anatomy & physiology: you’ll obviously learn a lot about these things during your time at college, but it never hurts to do some pre-reading. From learning some of the basics of anatomy, to reading up on the science of skin care.
Remind yourself why you’re going
A final useful thing to do before your first day is to remind yourself exactly why you’re starting cosmetology school.
The chances are you’ll be asked this at some point on your first day, as part of a group ice-breaker. If you’re already feeling nervous, it can help to have a clear answer at the front of your mind.
But more than this, it will help settle any nerves before the big day if you remind yourself exactly why you were so keen to do this and why you love this subject!
On the day
Look the part
Again, given your chosen career path, you probably take more care than many over your look. But it’s worth reiterating that as a cosmetologist you’re an example of your work.
For your first day, no doubt you want to look your best; but make sure you remember to dress practically too. You don’t need to be the most glamorous person in the room – you should look professional and dress for the job you’re there to do. Some schools will have a strict dress code telling you exactly what you can and can’t wear, but in case yours doesn’t – here are some useful things to consider:
- Many schools will tell you to wear black clothing; this looks professional and is a common style for cosmetologists. If you don’t own much black clothing already, a good tip is to search second hand stores – after all it’s likely you will get bleach on your clothes at some point early in your time at college!
- Long hair can be a nuisance while practicing cosmetology – you don’t want it dangling in your client’s face after all! While some schools will tell you exactly what is and isn’t allowed as part of the dress code, even if they don’t you should make sure you’re professional. This doesn’t mean you need to cut it off, but make sure you’re ready to tie it up out the way if need be.
- Comfortable shoes are essential for any cosmetologist. While those heeled boots might look nice or give you an extra few inches in height, you’re going to be spending a lot of time on your feet. Making sure you have comfortable, flat shoes will stand you in good stead.
- Make sure your hands are neat and manicured – this is good practice for a cosmetologist and will show you’re ready for work. It might be advisable to avoid nail polish at least initially – it can very easily become chipped during practice which isn’t a good look.
Prepare your best smile…
Cosmetology is almost as much about people skills as it is knowing the techniques. School is a chance to practice and refine these social skills too!
While you are no doubt charming and friendly at (almost) all times, nerves can make us act differently to how we normally would (this goes for you and everyone else). So on your first day just remind yourself to smile, be friendly and approachable.
And keep smiling
Throughout your time at cosmetology school, there will almost undoubtedly be social dramas. Not everyone will get along, some people will have differences of opinion, and some people will be just plain awkward. This is something a lot of people reflect on from their time at school.
While it’s unlikely these tensions will emerge on the very first day, it’s good to be prepared for this to happen. Just remember to be yourself and try not to get sucked in to petty arguments or debates. If you have to deal with particularly difficult classmates, think of it as valuable practice: after all, not every client will be easy to deal with either.
As mentioned above, nerves can affect us all differently so try to be forgiving during your first day and just keep smiling!
Take in as much as you can
It may be day 1, but trust us, your time at cosmetology school will fly by quicker than you can imagine. So it’s really helpful if you’re able to hit the ground running.
There’s a lot to learn so the quicker you’re able to start taking stuff in the better. Even if you think something isn’t relevant to the particular direction you want to go in, try to take it in anyway: many people change their minds as their time progresses. Have a pen and paper ready to jot stuff down.
Relax and enjoy
Finally, remember that you’re there to learn; no one expects you to know everything already. Be ready to take things in your stride and learn from your mistakes – because you will make some.
Cosmetology school is a brilliant place to prepare for a career you will love and meet like-minded people. So relax, take it in, and enjoy it!