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A Blank Canvas: A College Essay about Tattoos

Updated on March 15, 2012

By the way! This essay helped earn my acceptance into Pace University, Adelphi University, Western Connecticut State University, and Marist College!

I want a tattoo. As a teenager, most people like to advise me to steer clear of what they think of merely as a sign of rebellion, but I don’t completely understand why. At this point in my life, parents, teachers and friends expect me to be responsible enough to choose where I want to study, what I want to study, and to hone in on those skills (which I should be planning to use for the rest of my life), while I’m still not responsible enough to decide whether or not I want a tattoo. To me, going to college and getting a tattoo seem like very similar decisions.

Teachers in high school constantly preach that college is the sole medium through which young adults discover themselves and the type of people they want to be for the rest of their lives. Tell me, when it comes to openly representing myself, what better way is there to physically manifest my beliefs or life experiences for all to see than in a tattoo? In my opinion, deciding to get a tattoo can be just as admirable as deciding going to college. Let me explain.

When I say I want a tattoo, I am asserting that I am open to change, ready to display my beliefs and ideals publically, and am sure of what I would like to keep with me for the rest of my life. While the reaction observed from it is completely different, the decision to go to college requires mostly the same attributes. Just like getting a tattoo, college requires that I know exactly what I want, I demonstrate eagerly who I am as a person, and I remain open-minded to change. Overall, the two prove to have relatively similar requirements.

While people more commonly condemn the decision to get a tattoo than a college education, both can have serious repercussions. Both are permanent. After I pay for a college education, or a tattoo, I would have to pay a lot more money to go back and change it. After getting a tattoo I would have to live with its image on me for the rest of my life. At the same time, a college education from an expensive university could leave me stuck in student debt for decades.

The similarities just keep piling up, but when it comes down to it, the repercussions will not be what I think about when I decide on a tattoo or especially on a college education. The decision to receive either is reflective of my desire to change myself for the better. Both a tattoo and a college education would show my motivation to live my life the way I see fit as well as the amount of confidence I have, which enables me to invest in myself on such a permanent level. I have a desire to improve my mind and body for the whole world to see, currently a blank canvas open to new ideas and experiences.


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