Abby Christiansen- Battling Hair and Homework  – need photo

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Jade Christiansen

Abby Christiansen cuts class…and hair.  Abby is a JTED student in the cosmetology program.  Joint Technical Education District (J.T.E.D.) is a program funded by Arizona taxpayers, working alongside Pima Community College to give students an opportunity to find out their likes and dislikes when it comes to figuring out what they want to do. Even if they don’t like the program they choose, they still learn basic professional skills that will help them in a career that they can pursue after graduation. The two-year program of 1600 hours prepares students for licensure in all aspects of haircare, skincare, and nail care. 

Abby first explained what her online experience was like with the program. She said, “I learned a lot of theory, which was incredibly boring.” They weren’t able to do any practical work because they would have to be supervised by a licensed instructor. They also didn’t have the right cleaning products to be healthy and safe.

When asked if she finds it hard to balance school, work, and J.T.E.D., she said, “I find it really difficult sometimes, however, seeing as I’m in my second year, I have gotten better at time management so that I don’t become too stressed about anything.” Some advice she has on how to keep a peaceful and not too busy life: use any downtime you have to study and do homework, so you don’t get too frustrated about being behind. School can pile up easily, so keep your slate clean. With the free time she has, it is used wisely to be prepared mentally and physically for her hard days. So she can balance work, beauty school, and actual school as long as she has the right people and mindset. And you can too! 

Her favorite part of cosmetology is “thermal curling” especially with a smaller iron because there will be more curls to work with. But she didn’t start out enjoying it because she wasn’t great at it and she likes to be great at things from the start. Now comes the least favorite part, facials. They make her feel claustrophobic, even if she is the one giving them. 

It was extremely difficult for Abi to connect with people when they were online last year. She found herself questioning if people liked her because of the way they were forced to communicate with one another. She would often end her day in tears because she felt like she didn’t have any friends there. But now, she realizes that she can connect with people in person and find common interests so that she can be more social. She also really likes working with people who have the same passions and motivations as her. It’s really comforting. 

When asked if she would recommend J.T.E.D. to another student she says, “I definitely would!” She knows that a lot of students find themselves frustrated about a future career after high school. With JTED, students are able to experience what the workforce is like and learn what the necessary skills are to be apart of it.