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The Student News Site of Darien High School


The Student News Site of Darien High School


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How Nail Polish Has Improved My Time Management

How a fun hobby transformed my self discipline…

I find that most people my age who get their nails done, get their nails done FOR them at a salon.

All of my bright color polishes! Arranged in rainbow order of course! (Kaitlyn Murray)

Furthermore, they get fancy gel manicures, or even acrylic nails, that lengthen the actual nails. I play violin, being a musician requires having short fingernails that aren’t longer than the tips of my fingers. Upon realizing that these two pastimes could not occur simultaneously, I had to honor my musical endeavors and sacrifice the unnecessary accessory. 

Years go by, and I was left without a manicure. I tried the at-home gel polish and cure lamp solution, but the product was cheap and would chip off faster than regular polish. I would go to the salon and get a regular polish manicure occasionally for a holiday or special event, but would watch it chip off day after day. It never lasted more than a week, and it was always so expensive to go and such a process to get it done, sometimes even painful to have the nail tech filing and clipping away…slightly out of control. 

My color of choice for the week of 12/18/23… glitter only! (Kaitlyn Murray)

When the pandemic hit, nobody could go to the salon, so I turned to my medicine cabinet and the few crusty bottles of polish that had been sitting there for years. Not ideal, but nobody saw the manicures that I produced with them anyway because of quarantine. 

Sometime a little over a year ago, I started giving myself my own manicures, with those crusty polishes that I had. I quickly began to get frustrated with the crust and went to Walgreens in search of new colors…soon enough, I built a nail polish bottle army in my room. I got a whole bunch of them that Christmas, and this year I began a system: every Saturday I blocked off a bit of time to sit down to trim and repaint my nails, a different color every week. 

I found that this small and simple routine (previously overlooked as a luxury and a waste of time) was actually the perfect amount of time consuming, and managed to help me get an hour away from my phone on the weekends to focus on something detail oriented, that I found fun at the same time. It helped me learn how to manage my time on the weekends, since there’s only 2 days. I work from 7am to 3pm on Saturdays in a bakery, and after I come home completely exhausted and covered in powdered sugar, self care in the form of a new manicure (and a shower!) is all I look forward to. It forces me (kindly) to take a break, have some quiet, and improve the precision accuracy of my left hand. 

This little index card has a swatch of every polish combination that I’ve worn since 6/25/23! (Kaitlyn Murray)

Having this hobby and need to prioritize myself more often on my busy weekends has allowed me to get a better grip on scheduling myself and my activities, and I have become more self aware of where I need to be and when. I’ll make plans in the evenings to go out or have someone over, but I’ve never missed a my manicure Saturday in the time I have begun recording all the different colors I’ve worn since the week of June 25, 2023. It’s also a really great activity that gets me off my phone; if there’s time to scroll Instagram for an hour, there’s time to change the colors on my fingers. It’s been really great for my mental health to have an established routine on the weekends; if I have a crazy busy week I can count on myself to have time to relax and reset for the new week ahead. Focusing my weekends around my job and my self care has helped me get organized and in control. 

My tiny habit has been noticed by everyone I come across, from my musical friends, to peers at school, to customers at the bakery after I take my gloves off to charge them at the register. If you ever see me around, take a look at my hands to see what color I’ve picked for this week! I can guarantee it’ll be a good one, maybe even involving some sparkles…





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About the Contributor
Kaitlyn Murray
Kaitlyn Murray, Writer
Kaitlyn is a senior at DHS who began writing for Neirad in the fall of 2023. She writes pop culture and opinion articles, in addition to her personal creative writing endeavors. She plays violin, and you’ll most likely find her practicing, listening to Taylor Swift, or updating her Pinterest boards when she’s not working on a Neirad story!

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