When I first arrived at The Academy NYC-A Paul Mitchell Partner School to go on my tour, I was very excited. My tour was actually great, but that all turned out to be fake. They told me I would be going to all these fun events such as New York Fashion Week and/or other Editorial events for magazines, fashion shows, and the like. They described to me that the teaching was more of a "catering"-as in they cater to the way different students learn. They described to me that each class gets a "graduation" at the end that my family and friends would be able to attend. They told me that I would be getting the best possible education there was for hairstyling, makeup artistry, and esthetics (waxing, nails, facials, etc...) Was I in for a surprise when I moved out of my hometown to New York (specifically to attend the school, which they told me was 7 months and turned out to be 8 months) to find that nothing they had told me was true. I thought I was attending the "Harvard of Beauty Schools." I was very wrong.
It turns out, I didnt get any of that kind of education that they described to me whatsoever. The best part was the beginning Core Class, because my teacher at the time actually showed us how to do certain things and boost our confidence-but once I moved my way up out of that class, more than half my time there was spend just sitting around and waiting. Waiting for someone to teach me something. We would go over the same things every single week almost, and I was getting so bored. Most of the teachers they picked seemed completley unqualified for their jobs. They seemed to spend so much time on making the school a "fun place" that they started picking teachers that we're between the ages of 22-25, and for me, being a 23 year old, it was very difficult for me to even give these teachers any respect. Considering the fact that they have only been in the industry for about two years and actually seemed to have little to no experience at all.
It is hard for me to give a teacher respect when they can sit there and talk to their students about going out to a club and getting drunk, or sitting on the stage staring at their cell phones the whole time and checking their own Facebook pages, not to mention basically stalking the students Facebook pages. I understand Facebook is online and virtually anyone can look at anothers page, but shouldnt that be saved for after school hours? If I am trying to learn, and instead I am staring at my teacher in a stuper because they are too lazy to even get off their phones, how am I supposed to know or learn how to do anything? Most of the time when I would ask a teacher to show me how to do something, they would show me a very small portion of the style I was asking for and then they would walk away, and sometimes couldnt be found afterwards. I never attended a class about Facials-because we just simply did not have them. And keep in mind that I was not one of those "I'm not going to school today because I dont like to go to school" sort of people - I actually attended school, and attended my classes accordingly.
On the days we were supposed to have "makeup class" it reminded me more of a couple of teenage girls having a slumber party doing each others makeup. It was very rare that the teacher would actually show us any makeup techniques at all-because we didnt have any makeup artists as teachers. This, for me was essential because the whole reason I was going into the beauty industry was to do makeup (not knowing at the time that you could get a seperate makeup certificate). Our teacher would walk in and say, "Okay, do each others makeup." And then we would either do someones makeup, or just sit there not doing anything at all. Most of the time I ended up doing my own makeup, because that was actually the most practice I got. No one ever actually showed me how to do anything, most of the things I learned I taught myself, or another student had to teach me.
We also had a "Color Class" every other Friday where we were supposed to learn the different techniques for coloring hair. It started out with us just watching the teacher do another students hair on stage (most likely a student that was favored in some sort of way-favortism happend a lot here) and then close the end of my stay there, class would begin with a video and end with us working on our mannequins-yet the teacher still showed us how to do nothing. She would sit on stage and stare at us, or walk over to the girls that were favored in her eyes and help them- the rest of us got no attention at all. I actually needed a teachers help one time with a customer that I had-when I first when to go look for her, I couldnt find her. Then, finally, I went into the back of the salon, and there she was getting her hair curled by a student. I told her I needed her and asked if she could come help me, and she says, "Just wait a minute, and dont tell anyone I'm back here." I waited for about ten minutes before I could finish up with my customer. This is the same teacher that stared at her phone when she was supposed to be teacher, and actually had her cleavage hanging out half the time as if she was going out to a club.
Another problem I realized was with the dress code here- it was all black on black with more black. Yet more than half the time those "favored" girls could wear other colors as much as they wanted- and they never got a word said to them. Yet, when I came to school with grey pants or a little tiny bit of grey on my shirt, I get yelled at. Some girls would walk around that place looking like street walkers, but that was okay, because those girls' parents had money, and could potentially buy their way out of anything. And the few times I wore a LITTLE bit of a color that wasnt black (but close enough, considering the girls that wore color on days they werent supposed to would wear purples and blues) I would get yelled at. I even got in trouble for wearing shoes one time. The teacher claimed they were "sneakers"-but they werent sneakers they were regular shoes. I did not look like I was going to the gym or going out for a run. I looked like I was going to school.
There was a student there that would actually sleep during class with his sunglasses on, walk in and out of class during tests for no reason (because he "didnt feel like taking it" I guess) and he rarely ever got into any sort of trouble at all. He would even just walk out of the school when he wasnt on his break or lunch. He would just come and go as he pleased and no one ever said a word to him. I heard a rumor that this was because he was friends with the owners of the school, but I can not claim that because I dont know for sure. By this point I started getting frustrated with the school, but I decided to keep trying anyways. My big breaking point was when I didnt do so well on a test, and I asked if I could just go back on the test and try to correct the answers I got wrong, but my answer was, "That's not how we do things here." Okay, maybe not usually, but I actually have a slight learning disability where I have big problems taking tests, and I thought this school would "cater" to the way I learned-but, anytime I would ask them if I could do something a little differently because it would help me, I got a no. By this point, I started breaking down.
And to make it worse, I got told by one of the teachers that I looked like a "slob." I told this teacher I felt like this was very rude considering the fact that on the day she said this to me, I actually had my hair done; she just didnt like the way it looked. I couldnt figure out why she would say this to me since I had my hair and makeup done every single day and there were girls that would walk around with nothing on their face and their hair thrown up into a bun like they just rolled out of bed. Then, about a week later, I had my hair up in a bun (a nice looking bun, not a messy one) and the same teacher actually comes up behind me, takes my hair down, and says, "You know how I feel about that." and then she tells me to "mess my hair up" to make it look like a "just had sex" sort of look because that's whats "in" right now. I dont understand how I look like a slob when my hair is done but I don't look like a slob when I look like I "just had sex." To me, this was highly inappropriate for her to even come up behind me and touch my hair like that, and then to say those things to me. And she was one of the older teachers, too.
Another time, I did an updo on my mannequin, trying to do something all by myself (since, you know, the teachers rarely ever checked on us) and I went up to my teacher (the same one that was busy getting her hair curled) and I got a shrug and a roll of the eyes. I didnt hear anything to the extent of "Wow that looks really nice" or "Here, let me help you and show you a different way to do it." I got absolutley no praise and no constructive criticism at all, which is the way it was all the time. The teachers would come back and say, "Whats up guys?" and then basically walk away from us. Other times they would show us pictures and say, "Do these hairstyles" and then, once again, walk away--never actually SHOWING us how to do the hairstyles. Oh yeah, and as for our graduation ceremony-it never got planned. No one even came up to us and said a word to my class about our graduation at all, I ended up leaving and not finishing school there at all (I found out that in every other state you need more hours to get your license; in New York you only 1000 hours) and as far as I know, my class never had the graduation that they were promised, because for some reason there was "No graduations in July."
This school is so set on selling their products and teaching the "clinet consultation" every single week that they dont concentrate on anything else. I left The Academy NYC, went to Empire Beauty School's three week make up course, learned a lot, realized that in some places there actually was structure, and finished with an A and recieved my make up certificate. Personally, I wish I never would have gone to this school, because now I have to pay back my 10,000 dollar loan for a horrible education and something that I couldnt even finish because this place was literally driving me so crazy. I was depressed and miserable the whole time I was there, and if I could take that whole experience back and start from scratch somewhere else I would. And I know I am not the only student that has attended this school that feels this way; many, many other students feel the same way as I do. It's a wonder that this place has not been shut down yet.