Photos by Zoe Fu
The white ink letters on design sophomore Fernanda Rodriguez’s left forearm spell the word “illusions” in Spanish. In the last letter Rodriguez received before her great uncle died, he advised her to never forget her dreams or “ilusiones.”
“Most of my tattoos are little reminders of my family and advice I’ve learned from them — either visually or context-wise,” Rodriguez said. “[They represent] stuff I want to keep doing every single day, like valuing myself and to keep dreaming.”
The quarter-sized moon on her wrist also designates a message from a family member. Rodriguez said after a bad relationship, her grandmother told her a Mayan myth about the sun sacrificing its own life to let the moon breathe. Her grandmother told her she should find someone who loved her as much as the sun loved the moon.
“I feel like I need to remind myself I’m worth it,” Rodriguez said. “I always try and remind everyone else they’re worth it [and not to] let anyone else treat you like less than that.”
The small series of Roman numerals on international relations and global studies senior Sarah Wilson’s back represents the day her father died from a heart attack more than a decade ago.
“It’s a memorandum of him,” Wilson said. “A tribute.”
Wilson got the tattoo on her 19th birthday, accompanied and supported by her best friends. She said she was glad it was such a small tattoo because of how painful the process was.
“[I wanted] something I can wear in a professional setting,” Wilson said. “I wanted a spot that wasn’t going to be ugly or deformed if I gained weight when I was older.”
Sociology and humanities junior Jack Mihoffe said one of his tattoos supports a holistic energy drink company one of his friends started. The second tattoo on his leg depicts one of his favorite foods.
“I love peanut butter muffins,” Mihoffe said. “So I got PBM on the back of my leg.”
Mihoffe said getting his tattoo was a little more unconventional. His roommate had just purchased a new tattoo gun, and Mihoffe decided, since he had never gotten a tattoo, to be a clean slate for his roommate to gain experience.
“He was just starting out, so I was his practice subject,” Mihoffe said. “I thought, if it’s bad, I’ll just cover it up with a real tattoo.”