High school to hairstylist

Some graduates of the 21′ class have chosen alternative paths to a 4-year college, such as Audrey Reeves

Most members of the graduating class of 2021 will head to college shortly. Others may enter the workforce while still deciding which career path to explore full-time. However, senior Audrey Reeves will do neither. Instead, she begins her 12-month certification in hair styling this fall. 

“Honestly, it wasn’t until recently that I knew [what] I wanted to do,” Reeves said. “I [have] been very indecisive. I talked to a lot of my teachers about it, seeing what they thought, and they were all very supportive of me.”

Reeves, who initially explored the possibility of a college degree in finance, has found her calling at Aveda Arts & Sciences Institute in Ballston. The cosmetology program is very highly-regarded and provides a three-part course. The first three  months will focus on techniques and bookwork, and the next five  months  on real hair with the help of licensed stylists and volunteers; the students are unpaid as this is a unit in the course. The final four  months have students working directly — and unsupervised unless requested — with clients in preparation for the state exam. Although Reeves has not yet decided on a place of work, her focus will continue to be on styling in a salon environment.

“Ironically, [when I planned on getting a financial degree,] I still knew that I wanted to be a hairstylist; it was kind of my backup plan that I was going to have a financial degree,” Reeves said. “But I realized a little later on that it just wouldn’t make me happy. I wouldn’t be in a good place there. I decided to just go straight for the cosmetology license.” 

Reeves has only attended Washington-Liberty since sophomore year, so she was unable to complete the three-year Arlington Career Center class that would have provided her a license. However, Reeves, who has been dying hair for herself and friends for six  years, thoroughly enjoys the process and stresses the importance of expression.

“For me, dying hair and doing hair isn’t necessarily about the aesthetics of it, it’s more about the feeling that you get,” Reeves said. “Giving [people] that confidence boost and that energy to be able to be who they are and live the life that they want.”