From recent high school grads to career-changing mothers, I’m working with a lot of different characters in beauty school. Older, younger, Asian, French, Russian—my classroom is a diverse bunch. We’re coming to school from different points in our lives, and we all get along for the most part. As we work more closely, however, I’m noticing certain behaviors—older women disrespected by the fresh-out-of-high-school 17- to 19-year-olds, and younger students alienated by their older, seemingly wiser peers.
Because we’re experiencing beauty school from such varied backgrounds, I think the students should seize the opportunity to learn from one another in this unique environment. Being older or younger has distinct advantages and disadvantages. The older ones have life and work experience under their belt, but the younger set have time, eagerness, and optimism on their side. Age and experience aren’t the only factors for success, though—your attitude counts, too.
Looking around the classroom, I see my peers coming to class every day with different values and character traits, but who are we to discriminate based on age? I had the chance to develop a little more life and work experience at a university first, but that’s not the right choice for everyone. And if you enter beauty school at a younger age, it doesn’t mean you can get away with slacking. It’s time to step out of adolescence and hone your skills. Begin to network effectively with friends and family, keep educating yourself, and continue to improve your people skills. And as much fun as you think our industry is, professionalism is still an absolute must. You want to sustain clientele who are willing to spend the money for your services, regardless of your age. If you defy age discrimination and display yourself in a positive, professional light, clients will have no reason to question your maturity.
Beauty Apprentice is getting an expert beauty education from inside the academic lines and reporting her experiences exclusively for Beautylish. She's not afraid to dish on the beautiful, the ugly, and the just plain weird parts of beauty school. "Don't think that beauty school is all girlie fun and games—it's hard work and long hours, and I'm ready to divulge everything they don't tell you in the brochure."