Students talk tattoos, meanings behind them

Meghan Holland

After two years of planning, undeclared freshman Agustus Hill got his first tattoo a month after turning 18.

Whether students’ tattoos carry a personal meaning or no reason at all, they serve as an expression of themselves, making the process and appearance that much more significant.

Hill said he put so much thought into the piece because of its personal meaning — the importance of family.

The tattoo features a series of numbers wrapping around his ribcage. To anyone else, the numbers may seem random, but each digit represents the year in which one of his family members was born, beginning with ’71 and ending with ’08. Hill said he might add to it as his family grows.

“It’s just to always remind me that family is the most important,” Hill said.

Although Hill chooses to keep his tattoos hidden for professional reasons, he said he may eventually get another piece on his wrist.

“I couldn’t tell you when, but I’m going to get a tattoo for my stepdad, who passed away,” Hill said. “It’s going to be a heartbeat sensor, but in the middle, it basically turns into a mountain and there’s a river flowing down the mountain.”

Tom Mesa, communication and leadership senior, also has a tattoo that symbolizes family.

Mesa got his tattoo with his dad when he was 20. The two of them went on a trip to the island of Guam, which is where his dad’s side of the family is from. It was Mesa’s first time visiting.

“My dad and I have always been really close,” Mesa said. “When we went to Guam, we wanted to get matching tattoos together to signify our bond, so we did.”

Mesa’s tattoo consists of two solid black rings that wrap around his forearm, one representing himself and the other representing his father. He said he doesn’t mind that the tattoo is visible.

“I don’t think that tattoos should have any influence in the job industry as long as they are appropriate,” Mesa said.

Journalism junior Ariana Kianous got her tattoo on Friday the 13th, when many parlors offer discounts on tattoos. She said she did not intend to get a tattoo that day, but couldn’t resist the low rate.

“My mom died on Friday the 13th, and it was raining,” Kianous said.

In honor of her mom, Kianous got an umbrella tattoo on her shoulder.

Whether they memorialize a loved one or cement a bond, tattoos are one of the many ways students keep the people they love close. Some plan their ink for years in advance, while others spontaneously choose a design.

“Tattoos are so subjective to so many people,” Hill said. “I only have one tattoo because it’s so significant to me and I put two years of thought into it. I didn’t just go and get it done at 6th Street really late at night. So for me, they hold a lot of value.”