It’s week 12, grasshoppers.
That means I’m three months in, and about one-third of the way through my 600 hours at Beauty U. Thus, a little stock-taking seems appropriate and I’m lining up several posts to tell you what I’ve figured out so far.
First, a caveat: A lot of this taking of stock is going to sound like whining, so I want to be clear right now that I know I volunteered for this business. And there’s a lot about this experience that I’m loving, like bonding with my fellow Beauty U students and getting to interact with all of you guys on this here blog. But a lot has changed about my day-to-day life since embarking on this and I think some of it is worth mentioning.
So here goes:
Three Months Down, Observation #1: I Miss Weeknights.
I’m at Beauty U every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 6 to 10 PM, which is the part-time schedule. The full-time schedule runs Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 4 PM and you finish in about half the time. Trust me, nobody signs up for the part-time program unless they have to work full-time during the day and don’t have another option.
In our class, we have an event planner, a middle school teacher, a daycare worker, a home health aide, a receptionist, a grocery store clerk, and a waitress. (Plus me, a magazine writer.) Working all day + School all night = Exhaustion being the major conversational theme at Beauty U. We drink a lot of coffee and soda. There’s a running joke that nobody is allowed to yawn, because as soon as one of us does, the rest of the room catches it.
I used to use my weeknights to hang out with my husband, call my mom, catch up on email, watch TV, fold laundry, go shopping, have dinner with friends, or read a book. The majority of those activities are now on hold until I graduate in mid-August, or getting crammed in on weekends as best I can, or after I get home at 10:15 PM. Because as tired as we all are in the classroom at 9 PM, when you get home, you’re wired. We’re all up puttering on the computer or cleaning our kitchens until midnight or later, which helps with getting things done, but not so much with feeling well-rested the next day.
Plus, most of my fellow students also have kids that they’re leaving with parents or sitters to come to class, which ups the exhaustion factor in ways I can’t even fathom. Sue says her nine-year-old waits up to see her when she gets home at 10:30 PM every night. Meg’s two-year-old sometimes cries at the window while she drives off to class.
“You just have to remember that you’re doing this so you can get a better job and make a better life for your kids,” Leslie, one of the senior students, tells them during break when everyone is passing around cell phones with pictures of the kids they never get to see. “So it sucks to leave them, but it’s worth it.”
I hope she’s right. Because there are times — like when we’re picking hair clumps out of the spa wraps, or scraping hardened wax drippings off the floor, or hauling trash out to the dumpster in 7 degree weather, but enough, you get the not so pretty picture I’m painting here already — when I’m really not so sure.