Getting inked: students find balance between independence and workplace taboo
March 21, 2011 —
Tattoos are a controversial form of body art that have risen in popularity in recent years.
For many, to get a tattoo when turning 18 is a major coming-of-age event. Getting a tattoo is similar to being able to vote; it proves that a person can make adult decisions for themselves.
Alexa Suida, a kinesiology sophomore, got her tattoo because “it symbolizes my independence and that I am capable of doing things on my own.”
Her tattoo is of a butterfly with eyes similar to a Mardi Gras mask. The tattoo also includes a banner that says “Alis Volat Propriis,” which means “She flies with her own wings” in Latin. Suida said that although it took her a long time to decide on what she wanted, she was happy with the outcome.
Proving one’s independence is not the only reason many college students decide to get tattoos. Tattoos are often used as a special way of memorializing someone who has died, or even someone who is still living.
Nursing sophomore Kerrye Herbin recently just got a tattoo on her lower back as a living memorial.
“All of my tattoos are special to me,” Herbin said. “This one is for my little sister who’s middle name is Rose. Whenever we talk I always am sure to let her know I love her more, so this tattoo is symbolic of our relationship.”
Herbin decided to get this tattoo because “my older sister died in September due to suicide and I have a tattoo for her on my foot, so I thought I should make it even and get one for my little sister who I’d pretty much give my life for.”
Some people also choose to get their favorite quotes tattooed on their bodies. Jessica Fry, a kinesiology junior, is one of those people.
“I have always wanted a tattoo, but I didn’t want to rush it and then end up with something that I would hate when I got older,” Fry said. “When I came to my decision, I decided to get a quote on my right foot. The quote is ‘Live, Laugh, Love.’”
Fry decided on this particular quote because it expresses three things that are very important to her life.
“I believe you have to live life to the fullest, laugh any time that you can because just a simple smile could improve your day, and love like you have never been hurt,” she said. “I absolutely love my tattoo and am very glad that I made the decision to get that quote.”
There are also college students that may not have a tattoo yet, but are planning on getting one. Tim Schiller, a criminal justice senior, has such a plan.
“My grandpa was really close to me and then he died and I have wanted to get one in memory of him,” Schiller said.
Schiller isn’t sure of the exact tattoo he wants, but he know that he wants something to do with hunting because “it’s the thing that reminded me the most of him.”
Not everyone gets something particularly meaningful. Butterflies and stars are popular with girls, while guys tend to like tribal tattoos. Other people decide to get symbols, which can range from the ancient Egyptian to Chinese symbols.
Getting tattooed has always been controversial. Many employers, especially those in the professional and/or business industry, will not hire a person who has visible tattoos. When planning to get a tattoo, college students should be sure to choose a place on their bodies where a tattoo can easily be covered up with clothing. Arms, wrists, and the upper chest are highly advised against. Facial tattoos are also a huge no-no.
Some of the most popular areas to get tattoos are on the lower back, shoulders and feet. All of these areas can be easily covered with clothing and are ideal areas for getting tattoos.
Getting a tattoo is also not for the faint-hearted. Tattoo artists use a needle that moves up and down to puncture the skin between 50 and 3,000 times a minute. The pain can become quite intense, especially when getting a very large or detailed tattoo, so anyone with a low pain tolerance is advised against getting a tattoo.
If interested in getting a tattoo, there are shops in Saginaw and Bay counties. Old Town Tattoo, located on Hamilton Street in Saginaw, employs Jason (also known as Goose), P.J., Glenn, and Nick as its tattoo artists. Prices start at $50.
Drunken Monkey Tattoo, also located on Hamilton Street in Saginaw, has prices starting at $45.
Both Herbin and Fry got their tattoos done at Electric Chair Tattoo, located on E. Midland Street in Bay City. Prices also start at $45.