Click here for COVID-19 updates affecting the campus community

Q&A: Senior Bianca Buza discusses travel, studying abroad, painting nails

Senior Bianca Buza (Courtesy Photo | Bianca Buza)

Bianca Buza, a senior at Central Michigan University, moved around a lot growing up. The daughter of a sergeant major of the U.S. Army, Buza has traveled across the United States, and even lived in Europe for a while.

Buza is majoring in early childhood development with minors in psychology and entrepreneurship. She is a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children and participates in the special events committee of Central Michigan University's Student Government Association. 

Her goal was to be able to study abroad before the end of her undergraduate career. While trying to raise money for her trip, she realized she could do something that she’s always been passionate about: painting nails. 

Buza sat down with Central Michigan Life to talk about her desire to travel and her growing nail art enterprise.

CM Life: Tell me about the most exotic place you’ve ever visited.

Buza: The most exotic I would say is La Romana, in the Dominican Republic. I went there on a family vacation. Super fun! As far as the culture there, it was amazing, and I do have some background in speaking Spanish, and it really came in handy that whole trip. I was able to barter with people at the markets, and it was just really cool being able to use the language in another country. 

How many other places have you been to?

As a child, my dad was in the military, so when I was like two or three years old – maybe four – I lived in Germany. Being a child of a military family, I’ve lived in a lot of states in the U.S. I was born in Oklahoma. I lived in Virginia, West Virginia and Texas. I’ve been to Florida.

What do you want to do in the future?

I see myself being successful and having my own everything. I don’t see myself going back to my parents even after I graduate my undergrad. I do plan on getting my doctorate in psychology. I’ve been working toward that goal. I am doing everything I can to make it a possibility, but it’s definitely a challenge. 

Tell us about your upcoming study abroad trip.

I have never studied abroad, so I am really excited to finally be getting the opportunity to study in Italy this summer. I am going to study childcare. A lot of the practices that the child development learning lab (uses) here on campus are from Reggio Emilia, Italy. The way they do their childcare is amazing, unique and something I definitely need to go experience. My financial situation is the reason I waited until senior year to study abroad. I spent a lot of my time working two jobs and going to school full time, so I just wasn’t in a space financially to study abroad.

How did you save up the money to study abroad? 

I just got a lot better at saving. I worked really hard during summertime and I would spend it working and not taking classes like most people do. I developed a better financial plan for myself, so I am able to save a lot more money and have extra money to go. I have one job and do nails on the side. I work at Texas Roadhouse – I am a waitress and it pays much more than other jobs do – and I feel like I am progressing in the workforce as best I can as a college student. I do nails on the side, and this is something I recently got into. 

When did you start doing nails and what inspired you?

I’ve always got my nails done at the salons in town, and it just never occurred to me that’d I be able to do it myself. But I got a kit, started practicing and it just sparked my interest. I started telling people at work I do nails. 

I’m really trying to get money together for the study abroad trip. It’s only three credits, so I am not able to get any help from financial aid, grants or anything. I thought "somethings got to give, I need to figure something out." Then, I was like, "why don't I do nails?" 

I started about two months ago. It's brand new, but I have had a steady flow of clients coming in (and) returning customers. I’ve really been working hard to actually build it up, (and) I’m putting money into my business. I am saving money from my business for the trip so it's definitely a work in progress, but it’s definitely something that has a possibility in taking off. 

How did you learn to do nails?

Observation is the best teacher sometimes. I was sitting in the chair one day at the salon with this lady, and she’s painting my nails, and she’s able to bust this out in less than an hour because she’s trained and has been doing this for a long time. Every time I walked out of there, I would nitpick at my own nails and (think), "I could do this better myself, and I could do this for way cheaper." I do this out of my apartment -- I have a spare room, and I thought "why don't I take advantage of this?" 

It’s (a) really unique and fun business idea (I) came up with. I never expected it to be something people would really go for. I didn’t honestly believe in it, but I wasn’t afraid to try, and I’m glad I did.  

What is your favorite part about doing this? 

I charge $15 a set, and that’s for two hours. If you do the math, hourly pay is not that great, so I would like to have more clients coming in. My goal was to help myself while also helping other people. I didn’t want to be charging an arm and a leg because I understand as a person who is trying to save money myself how costly it is to keep getting your nails done. So, I am not only doing this as a service for myself, but as a service to other college students who may not have a ton of money to get their nails done, but want to because it makes them feel good. It’s a very personal thing when you’re sitting down at a table with somebody and doing their nails.