So I have an old classical guitar [a Herald HL44] that I want to learn on. Do I really have to grow my nails long or is there a way around this?

I will grow my nails eventually, but I trimmed them recently.


Ibanez RG2550Z/SRX430
Alesis Core 1

I'm a student. I've got no time or space for an amp!
If you're just starting to learn, you won't get much benefit from long nails anyway. It's not like long nails help you to play better, so I wouldn't worry about it.
Long nails are for definition of attack and tone. In order to sound better you will have to grow them eventually. If you can afford it, I would strongly recommend buying the book Pumping Nylon. It's a great resource for any beginner and will always be used as a reference tool