Tattooed students reveal the meaning behind their ink

Jenny Caulfield

Junior Creative Editor

Growing up in a mixed household of approval and disapproval, Katarina Fuchs, human services student, decided to follow her instincts and advocate for body modification. “I respect my parents, but I make my own choices too,” said Fuchs.

Fuchs got her first tattoo shortly after turning 18. The tattoo is displayed on her back with the words “let it be”, along with a dandelion and birds. “‘Let it be’ means ‘don’t pick at things if things are going okay, don’t try to make them better because things could end up worse’,” she said. Fuchs now has seven tattoos.

Fuchs is one of many students with positive views on their tattoos. Adopted from China, Mia Murphy, digital media student, has one tattoo her rib cage and one tattoo on the back of her neck. “The one on the back of my neck is a compass arrow with the coordinates of where I was born,” said Murphy.

The tattoo on Murphy’s rib cage with the “August 13th, 2014” symbolizes her struggles with depression and long-term trauma. “Aug. 13 is the day and final time I decided I would try to end my life, but I was given another chance,” she said. Murphy got the quote tattooed to serve as her daily reminder of her past, which altered her perspective.

Conor Clune, liberal arts student, has a tattoo reading “namaste” in sanskrit on his right bicep. Clune, a Buddhist, got the word on his body because its meaning is a large part of following the religion. “It means, ‘I see the light in you, you see the light in me’,” he said.

Students on campus without body art also feel that tattoos have a more positive than negative effect. “I think it separates your thoughts and mind and displays it in a peaceful, artistic manner,” said Peter Borgosz, mortuary science student.

“I think if you get a tattoo just to get one, it’s stupid. It should have a significant meaning if you’re going to ink it on your body,” said Emily Rusiecki, liberal arts student. Rusiecki said that due to a tattoo’s permanence, that there should be a significant meaning to any tattoo.

Seven right arm tattoos have costed business-marketing student Nick Downey over $1300. “I just started on my shoulder after I graduated high school,” he said.

Alexander Rodriguez, individual studies student, has 19 tattoos that cover his arms, chest and neck. “They’re like art to me,” said Rodriguez.

Some students deal with disapproval after getting inked, especially Fuchs. Growing up, her father showed extreme disapproval of her getting tattoos from a young age. “My whole dad’s side of the family, some of them like it, but every time I go to my grandma’s if I show her my tattoos she’ll say, ‘oh you used to be so perfect when you were born and it’s like ruining your body’,” she said.

Fuchs has had a long-term struggle for the acceptance of her family because of her body modifications. “I’m not going to disrespect them, but it is offensive – if it makes me happy, it should make them happy,” said Fuchs.

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