Things You Should Know Before You Get Your First Tattoo
Ah college… where the best four years of your life is a compilation of your worst decisions, captured and broadcasted on every social media platform. Whether it's the thrill of big wins, bid night, lack of parental supervision, or chicken tender day at Ernie Davis, college kids seek out any — and we mean any — reason to embark on reckless choices. In most cases, morning-after regret will wear off with the headaches and bruised knees, with the exception of one thing: ink.
Tattoo trends are on a rise and what better time to invest in something permanent than when you’re in the middle of a full-fledged identity exploration? Now, we're not telling you to avoid the trend entirely, but after extensive research and speaking with Syracuse students that got inked on campus, here are a few factors you may want to consider to ensure the love for your tattoo will last longer than your college career.
Research. Research. Research.
You are about to dye your skin with a design you'll be forced to look at until it sags and wrinkles. Know your shit. There are countless tattoo accounts on Instagram; surf around to get a feel for your taste. Bop around to tattoo parlors before deciding on one that feels right. Research the artists, sit down with them before, and make sure they have an understanding of your vision. Do not — we repeat, do not — go for the cheaper artist. You get what you pay for, so don’t settle for a lifetime sentence.
Choose your style and stick with it
For those ambitious folks looking to invest in many a tattoo, this tip is for you. There's nothing sloppier than an arbitrary collection of tattoos sporadically slapped onto limbs. Again, take to social media to explore the various styles and once you find one that speaks to your angsty college self, model your tattoos off of that for a clean, appealing visual.
Keep employers in mind
It's wise to keep in mind both the placement and content of your tattoo. If your friend double dog dares you to get “DICK” written across your fingers, and you decide to go for it, careers in pretty much any field may be jeopardized.
“I like my tattoo because I knew if I got one, it was just going to be something stupid. I ended up just getting a matching one with my friend,” said junior Matt Impelli. “I like it because it’s on my thigh, so no one can see it and I can show people only if I want to.”
Really sit with it. For like, awhile
Our generation’s fatal flaw: instant gratification. This is an especially unfortunate trait when dealing with something permanent. Give yourself time to let the design sink in — not just a few days, or even a few weeks. Hang the design on your wall for a good six months and force yourself to look at it everyday. If by the end of the six months you are still overjoyed to see that Barstool logo or the infinity sign feather, then by all means, ink away.
Make it something original
Perhaps the most discouraging discovery after you permanently color your skin is realizing your design is grossly generic. To avoid this, design a tattoo that speaks to your uniqueness. What makes you, you?
“I chose to get a big dipper because when I was young my parents always used to point it out to me in the sky, and so this tattoo reminds me of a simpler time,” explains freshman Birch Lazo-Murphy. “Those memories aren’t going to change so I think for that reason I am going to like it for a very long time.”
Don’t be drunk and no face tats or names of significant others
The self-explanatory tips for those who need it (you know who you are).
Eat a hearty meal and bring a friend
It’s no secret that enduring needles pricking your skin for hours on end is a daunting event. Before you sit down in the chair, be sure to load up on a hearty meal to limit the chances of passing out. Bring a friend or two for moral support, but do not invite your entire algebra recitation. Having a large crowd to witness the act will make for more people to provide commentary and judgments, only increasing your anxiety. After all, you are doing this for yourself, no one else.