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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Exploring the stories and meanings of students’ tattoos

Engineering+freshman+Karyme+Perez+shows+a+tattoo+of+a+butterfly+that+she+got+for+her+late+brother.+Photo+on+Thursday%2C+Feb.+15%2C+2024.+%28Photo+by+Rebecca+Cervantes%2FThe+Battalion%29
Rebecca Cervantes
Engineering freshman Karyme Perez shows a tattoo of a butterfly that she got for her late brother. Photo on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024. (Photo by Rebecca Cervantes/The Battalion)

Each tattoo, from body-wide art pieces to small quotes, means something to its wearer. Aggies are no exception. Whether highlighting the influence of a cherished sibling who has passed or serving as an inspirational reminder, these four students explored the significance of the inked art on their bodies. 

Agricultural leadership and development senior Benjamin McGuffey has a total of three line art tattoos. On his right side, he sports an eagle and a flower dispersing in the wind. On his left, he bears a shepherd’s staff. Each tattoo features Bible verses. He said he chose these specific inks because they evoke significant moments in his life.

“I chose to get them in pretty non-visible areas for a couple of reasons,” McGuffey said. “I love talking to people about my tattoos but they are personal for me and they are not for anyone else.”

McGuffey said various stigmas are associated with different types of tattoos — for instance, those on the bicep versus those on the face. He recommends anyone considering their first tattoo schedule a consultation. 

“It’s totally normal; they do it all the time,” McGuffey said. “A lot of them won’t even charge you for it. You’ll have a way better experience. Find somebody you can trust and look up artwork online.”

Mechatronics engineering junior Jaylen Waddle has a tattoo of an hourglass with smoke emitting in the background, stretching from his right collarbone to the pectoral muscle. His mother advised to get something that means something to him so he doesn’t regret it at an old age. 

“A virtue that I wanted was patience, and something that represents patience is an hourglass,” Waddle said. “It was one session, no color, and [it took about] an hour and a half to two hours.” 

Waddle got his tattoo in Houston from Artistic Impressions after doing research on the artist and being fond of his previous work.  He plans on getting more body art, but it has to have meaning.

“I think there’s a stigma,” Waddle said. “I got one on my chest because I felt like if it’s somewhere visible people would think differently, especially if they saw it and they didn’t like what it meant or it meant something different to them.”

Education junior Samantha Pagotan got her first tattoo at 16. Her friend’s brother inked the two in his bedroom, giving the friends matching tattoos of a small heart on their right wrists signifying their bond. She has a total of three tattoos — all from different places at spontaneous moments. The small flowers on the inside of her bicep were done in New York at midnight with her sister.  

“I was not really scared of it,” Pagotan said. “I prefer having tattoos on arms over anything else. I just think it looks better on me. It suits me better.”  

Engineering freshman Karyme Perez’s butterfly on her left wrist pays tribute to her brother, featuring his dates of birth and passing. Perez said she purposefully wanted the placement to be visible and the color of the butterfly to be blue because it was his favorite color. She plans on adding more ink in the future. 

“My mom would always tell me, right after he passed, that if you see a butterfly it means that it’s my brother visiting and coming to see me,” Perez said. 

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About the Contributor
Maryhelen Guerrero, Life & Arts Writer
Howdy! Maryhelen is a journalism sophomore from Houston, Texas with a double minor in creative studies and communication. She has a passion for writing about student life and involvement. Outside of journalism, Maryhelen loves running, writing and meeting new people.
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