Think ink

Senior Shannon Norwood peels the layer of plastic wrap away from her skin to reveal the scrawling script on her wrist, which reads “Darling, you’ll be okay.” After two years of waiting, she’s finally gotten a tattoo, and she couldn’t be happier.

Norwood is one of the members of the community who have used tattoos as a way to remind themselves of something significant or express who they are. “I decided to get my tattoo because it is in a song, and the song really means a lot to me. It’s helped me, and those are lyrics that have stuck with me,” Norwood said.

When Norwood underwent personal struggles, the song “Hold On Till May” by Pierce the Veil provided her with comfort and support, and she now has that support permanently etched in her skin.

While some students use tattoos to express themselves, others use them to remember and honor memories close to them. Senior Taiylor Kriss is one of these students. “Some say that it’s a way to express things like their art, their respect for a loved one or for other people in their lives, and other meaningful things in their lives,” Kriss said.

She and her family members chose individual tattoos in honor of her aunt, Hannah Kriss, who passed away in a car accident in 2012. Each tatoo reminded them of their special connection to Hannah so they could honor her legacy. Kriss chose to get a tattoo that reads “I hope you dance” in green cursive, because Hannah was Kriss’s dance coach. The tattoo reminds Kriss of the time they spent together dancing and “brings back great memories of [Hannah].”

Kriss chose those song lyrics to use as her tattoo because it reminds her of the way that she danced and lived life to the fullest. It reminds Kriss to “dance” and to take advantage of every opportunity for joy.

I decided to get my tattoo because it is in a song, and the song really means a lot to me. It’s helped me, and those are lyrics that have stuck with me”

— Senior Shannon Norwood

Other people get tattoos to rebel. “Tattoos are used to express people’s personalities, show what they believe in, to remember people who have passed away, or even to rebel,” German teacher Mark Canter said.

While students believe that tattoos serve as a way to express their personalities to remember significant events, some are concerned that tattoos can negatively affect them in upcoming years. “I hope it doesn’t affect my future, but the only reason it would, I believe, is when I’m trying to find a job, because I think people have this idea that people with tattoos are not professional,” Norwood said.

Professionals also believe that high schoolers can be affected in the long-run by their tattoos and the negative connotations they hold. “I’ve seen kids get tattoos that affect them down the road during job employment, graphic tattoos that they then can’t get rid of,” Inkslingers Tattoo Studio’s tattoo artist Michael Paztrick said.

While Paztrick believes that visible tattoos can affect students’ futures, college counselor Kelly Smith believes that tattoos have little to no effect on college admissions decisions for students who partake in interviews as part of the application process.

“When I worked on the college side, [tattoos were] not something that negatively affected [students’] chances of admissions, but it can depend on the school,” Smith said.

However, Paztrick advises students “to think very carefully” before getting any tattoos and to choose something that can be covered “by simplistic clothing, like a t-shirt or a pair of jeans,” in order to prevent any negative consequences tattoos can bring.
Norwood and Kriss share similar ideas and suggest that students decide carefully when selecting a tattoo.

“My advice is to know exactly what you want when getting one and to be sure that you want this on your body forever,” Norwood said.

Grace Mottley is the Assignment Chief and Christina Giovanazi is a Sports Editor for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.