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When I first returned to campus housing after the coronavirus pandemic began, I quickly realized that residential life was going to be nothing like it had been in the past.
There were almost no in-person classes, and the students who would normally be crowding campus hotspots were instead at home sitting in front of their computers.

UH had effectively become a ghost town.

With on-campus boredom setting in, I realized I would have to get creative and make my own fun, which to me sounded like turning my dorm room into a pseudo tattoo studio so I could give all my friends sub-par stick and poke tattoos and laugh about it.

But no, I 100 percent absolutely did not do that. Why would I ever do the research and spend all that money on tattoo supplies to live out my tattoo artist ambitions? Yeah, I have a few tattoos, but that doesn’t mean I can just give my friends free tattoos for a whole year in my dorm room, even though it would clearly get me in trouble.

After all, I’ve read the Student Housing and Residential Life policies, and I know it would not bode well for me if I had actually started tattooing in my dorm room. That would be breaking the rules! And I can’t condone anyone breaking our beloved campus housing department’s precious rules.

So, if you’re ever bored in your dorm, remember these tips on how to not start a tattoo studio in your dorm:

Don’t do your research
If you don’t want a stick and poke tattoo studio operating in your room, you should never do any research on how stick and pokes should be done. Sure, there are several online resources that are actually great at explaining the process of tattooing, such as Vice’s or sticknpoke.com’s guides.

Don’t let those incredibly informational Reddit threads on r/sticknpokes lure you in! They’ll fill your brain with information on the kinds of tattoo needles and ink you’ll need, how to create a stencil and how to keep a clean space. Before you know it, you’ll know exactly what supplies you’ll need to get started.

Don’t buy any supplies
Assuming you do peruse through the internet’s expansive resources, you should not start buying the supplies you need for your on-campus tattooing operations. It’s really easy to visit one of Houston’s many tattoo supply stores to buy what you might need for your hypothetical shop, including all the lining and shading needles and inks you can think of.

But you better not!

While you’re at it, be sure to not buy any transfer paper or stencil goop, which would make any potential tattoo much cleaner and more consistent. Or any aftercare products that would make healing a tattoo much easier and painless.

Don’t practice
Let’s say you somehow end up with all the supplies you need. It is important to not start practicing. If you’re trying to avoid turning your dorm room into your own personal shop, the last thing you need to be doing is learning how to make and use stencils and properly set up your station.
You especially don’t need to be getting hands-on experience with the needle, whether on yourself (which many people recommend) or any of your volunteering friends. I wouldn’t know, but learning your way around a tattoo needle is supposedly one of the most important factors of having a dorm tattoo shop.

And if you choose to go against my advice…

Be safe, be smart, have fun
If you do choose to open a makeshift tattoo studio in your dorm, remember to always be safe and use your brain. Keep things clean, use the right supplies and make sure you are always following the proper tattooing procedures and etiquette from that research you…um…didn’t do earlier.

Yes, tattoos are fun. They’re a great way to express yourself and an avenue for you to make amazing and lasting memories with your friends. But, being safe should always be your No. 1 priority. No amount of fun is ever worth anyone getting hurt or in any way harmed.

Happy not tattooing!

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