At Keene State College, it seems that tattoos don’t carry the same stigma they used to. Students all over campus are getting inked, supporting the growing fad.
Casey Rogers recently got her first tattoo as a first-year student at KSC.
“I knew I wanted a tattoo at some point, but I wasn’t in any rush because I wanted it to be meaningful,” Rogers noted.
Rogers ended up getting a tattoo with sentimental value.
“I have ‘you are my sunshine’ on my left shoulder,” Rogers explained, “It was something my mom used to sing to my sister and I when we went to bed, so it definitely has a special meaning to it.”
Rogers had no trouble getting her tattoo and noted that her parents were okay with the decision. She added that her mother accompanied her to the appointment.
“I definitely want more tattoos,” Rogers said.
“Tattoos are rad,” Jessica Vandevord, KSC student, agreed. As a first year, Vandevord plans on getting her first tattoo after her 19th birthday in January 2015.
Vandevord’s tattoo is going to be on the inside of her forearm, by her elbow.
“It’s going to be a watercolor tattoo,” Vandevord explained, “It’s a little ring with a tree in it, like a Tree of Life. It goes along with my ‘always growing, always moving’ motto.”
When it comes to the opinions of others, Vandevord said she recognizes her parents’ hesitations.
“My mom’s trying so hard to be really nice about it,” Vandevord noted, “Both my parents just want to make sure that I’m not doing something I’ll regret later.”
Unlike Rogers and Vandevord, Jared McFarland waited until just before his senior year at KSC before getting his first tattoo.
“My parents don’t really mind,” McFarland said, and explained that his brother already has a full sleeve of tattoos and a tattoo on his chest.
McFarland is getting the tattoo to “remember good times” and started a full sleeve this past August. By the time it’s done, McFarland said he expects to have spent $3,000 on the finished product.
KSC Junior Nick Gagliardi said he has spent $420 collectively on the two tattoos he currently has.
For him, the tattoos are representative of his family.
“My first tattoo was in memory of my papa who died in 2011,” Gagliardi explained, “We had a really close relationship up until he passed.”
Gagliardi’s first tattoo in memoriam of his grandfather is the word “righteous” on his bicep, along with the years his grandfather lived and the years he served in the navy.
Gagliardi got his first tattoo at the age of 18 as a senior in high school and said that both of his parents were completely on board with the idea.
“My parents thought it was really cool and my dad especially appreciated it because it was for his dad,” Gagliardi said.
Gagliardi’s second tattoo is an angel, representing his family as a whole.
“I got it because I loved the first one so much,” Gagliardi explained, before adding, “I plan on getting some more, but all inside the t-shirt line so they aren’t visible.”
Gagliardi explained that some people go too far with tattooing.
“I think some tattoos are fine, but it can get to a point where it’s too much,” Gagliardi said.
Rogers talked about instances where tattoos could be a problem.
Rogers said, “I think that in some cases, if the person has a derogatory tattoo or if it’s on their face. It’s probably not the best idea. If they have a professional job, then I guess it [could be a problem].”
Rogers continued, “People shouldn’t judge others for getting a tattoo. It’s that person’s own body.”
In that respect, Vandevord agrees.
“I don’t think a tattoo should affect your ability to complete a job,” Vandevord said, before adding, “My parents are worried about [my ability to get hired]. But ten years — even five years from now — I don’t think anyone’s going to care that I have a tattoo on my arm.”
“I think that tattoos should continue to become more accepted in future years,” McFarland noted with a similar opinion to Vandevord.
“It think it’s just people trying to express who they are,” McFarland continued, “It’s not just a tattoo to me. It’s more like artwork.”
Jill Giambruno can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org