Students getting tattooed on the rise

Andy Mannix

The back-to-school hustle of a new semester doesn’t only apply on campus. As the dorms and housing around the University fill up, so does the waiting list at local tattoo parlors.

Josh Cerny, manager of Stadium Village’s Steady Tattoo & Piercing, said new and returning students make fall the store’s busy season.

“When everybody comes back they check out what’s going on around town,” Cerny said. “One of those things is usually tattoos and piercings.” Cerny said tattoos have grown in popularity among students in the past 10 years, as tattooing has become more socially acceptable and established itself as an art form.

According to a 2006 study conducted by the Pew Research Center, more than one-third of 18- to 25-year-old Americans have at least one tattoo.

“It’s a coming-of-age thing for a lot of kids,” Cerny said. “They get a chance to get away from home and do some of their own things.”

Amanda Nosal, a first-year fisheries and wildlife major, came to Steady Tattoo & Piercing Tuesday to get her first tattoo.

Nosal got a personalized rendition of a traditional Chinese bat inked on her upper-right shoulder in tribute to her aspiration of working with bats after she graduates.

Nosal said getting the tattoo was her way of expressing herself.

“I am embracing that I’m an adult now and confident in who I am,” she said.

Ross Thompson, a receptionist at Steady Tattoo and early childhood specialist at the University, said self-expression is a major reason why tattoos are so popular among students.

“It’s wanting to represent what they have on the inside on the outside,” Thompson said.

First-year University student Darcy Cornelius also got her first tattoo Tuesday evening.

“I always said I would get a tattoo if it was really significant and meaningful,” Cornelius said.

Cornelius got a tattoo of a rose on her forearm in memory of a friend – whose middle name was Rose – who died three years ago, she said.

“I wanted something to kind of represent her life,” she said.

Thompson said a lot of people wait until college to get a tattoo because that’s when they are mature enough to handle the responsibility of it. Most people at that age aren’t just getting something for the novelty or to be rebellious.

“It’s more they’re finally feeling free enough to express themselves,” Thompson said.

Cerny said he has never dealt with a student’s angry parents complaining about their kid’s tattoo. On the contrary, he said, many parents have come in afterwards to get one of their own.

“Most parents these days have really warmed up to the idea,” he said.

Cerny said the tattoo fad won’t be dying out any time soon. It has become ingrained in our culture and will continue to evolve, he said.

“What people are after will definitely change, but that won’t bring an end to tattooing,” Cerny said. “It will just help it to develop.”