A look at the stories behind the tattoos of UNG students

Whether they’re for art, self expression, acts of rebellion, portraits of reminiscences or just because, every tattoo is unique with its own story. Here on University of North Georgia’s campus, the Vanguard went looking for insight into what drives members of the student body to get their personal tattoos.


“I moved away from my biological parents when I was 11 and moved in with my grandparents, which was a pretty rough move. I didn’t necessarily make it very easy for my grandparents, but they invested a lot of time and energy into raising me. Just like someone has to invest a lot of time and energy into making lavender blossom, my grandparents did the same for me.” —Kele Howerton, junior and information studies major


“Love her for her womanhood- This is the last line of the Alpha Gamma Delta Purpose, which maps out true womanhood. Society, especially at the time the Purpose was written, considered women frail, incomplete, and dependent. I am none of those things and I have a support system of women challenging me to be a leader, to be wise, vigorous, selfless, and kind. This is true womanhood, and it should be celebrated.” —Kelsey Stover, senior and accounting major


“This tattoo means a lot to me because it symbolizes my faith in Christ and it’s a constant reminder of the pain and suffering that Christ went through to that I could be saved.” —Zach Glenn, senior and criminal justice major


“Agape: God’s unconditional, perfect love.” —Sarah Haymore, senior and nursing major


“Koi are admired in Asian culture specifically for their endurance and perseverance in the face of adversity. Just like most of us have, I’ve faced a significant amount of adversity in my life and this tattoo is symbolic of putting everything behind me and always moving forward towards new challenges to overcome.” —Nick Ehmann, junior and bio-chemistry and pre-med major


“There is a Cherokee myth of the Thunderbird — it was one of the most empowering creatures in the sky — big, beautiful and confident, yet people tried to shoot it down because it seemed like a threat. However, no matter the obstacles it faced the Thunderbird was never shot down. I got this tattooed on my side a year ago as a reminder of where I came from and my heritage, but mostly that in life people are going to try to bring you down constantly. But it is up to you to keep your faith and your strength — and you will prevail.” —Sayward Gregg, senior and art marketing major


“Memento Mori means remember your mortality. It reminds me to live my life to the fullest since I will never know when it’ll end. This is especially important going into the military after graduation.” —Noah Kuntz, senior and psychology major


“I got this tattoo to commemorate my grandfather. He inspired my brother and I to join the military and had a deep love for wolves. The tattoo symbolizes to me that he is in heaven watching over us as we progress through our lives and military careers.” —Christian Brooks, senior and computer science major


“My tattoo is a visual representation of my native ancestors watching over me and protecting me from danger.” —Maurice Clark, junior and communications major


“The Chinese symbol on my back translates to “love” and it is a symbol my mother and I got to signify our bond as mother and daughter. The second tattoo is a lyric from a Tori Kelly song called “Unbreakable Smile”. I can relate to this song a lot because it talks about being in the music industry and facing a lot of hard ships: imposters, people who want to use you, people who don’t have faith in you, etc… The leopard print surrounding it is basically stands for the fact that I do have thick skin and I’m not afraid to stand for what I believe in.” —Karlie Dobbs, junior and communications major


“Ever since I was a child, I have always admired the beauty in tattoos. My tattoo represents the people who gave life to me, and the moon that we all share as human beings.” —Dani Glover, junior and communications major

  • Sarah-Anne Payne is a senior studying communications and journalism. She has an abnormal obsession with sweet tea and Chickfila and loves dogs more than people.

  • Show Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

comment *

  • name *

  • email *

  • website *