At 10:25 PM the idea emerged… And by 10:45 PM we were putting on our bras and sliding into our Uggs, in preparation for the long walk to Wal-Mart. Freshmen year of college was filled with late nights, crappy food and crazy ideas. This particular night was no exception. I don’t remember exactly which one of my roommates had the idea of piercing our own ears, but once the idea was said, it was put in motion. I lived in a tiny, cement and tile room with three other girls: Katie, Mary Kate, and Madison. After a quick Google search, we found out that Wal-Mart sold handheld, ear piercing guns. So after we all got presentable, we set out in exploration of a thrill for the night.

The walk to Wal-Mart from the dorms was lengthy and cold but we walked into the store on a mission. We bypassed the discounted Bud light and Ramen noodles and headed straight to the jewelry section. We picked out a baby blue piercing gun and a couple sets of earrings that fit with the gun and quickly checked out. We were back in our dorm room at 11:30 PM. I was shoved into a chair and handed a panda stuffed animal to hold on to for the pain I was about to endure.

My roommates sterilized my right ear- which in hindsight, I’m surprised we thought to do that at the time- and drew a small dot in washable marker for where the earring would go. I gripped the panda tight, as Madison squeezed the handle on the gun. I heard a loud “POP” and just like that, I now had another ear piercing in my right ear. The gun left behind a faint stinging but the pain was bearable.

Unfortunately, people are born with not one, but two ears, so I was going to have to repeat the process again… This time Katie decided she wanted to be the one to use the gun. Again they sterilized and marked, all taking turns to look and make sure the hole placements matched on both ears. Mary Kate held my right hand and the panda was sitting in my lap as Katie squeezed the handle. This time the pain was different though. This time, when the earring entered my left ear, pain shot from my neck straight down my back. I couldn’t move my neck at all or stand up. I was frozen to the chair and I screamed out in pain. Katie was startled by my screech and jumped back, leaving the piercing gun dangling from my ear. Pain was still coursing through my back but none of us knew what to do because the gun was jammed and stuck in my ear. Katie quickly grabbed the gun and squeezed as hard as she could and the earring shot into my ear with the same “POP” as the first time. Mary Kate was ready with ice, after Katie pulled the gun away, and applied in gently to my sore ears.

By 12:15 AM, I was now the proud owner of a new set of ear piercings. Granted, my left piercing was a little higher than my right because Katie was shaking so badly that she missed the mark, but I loved them regardless. I never got them re-pierced to fix the mismatching because it reminds me of the spontaneous, care free, stupidity of being young. College is a time to learn about yourself and experience adventures that you might have never thought possible. My mismatched ear piercings remind me of the unforgettable nights and unbelievable friendships that were made over dining hall pizza, Cookout M&M milkshakes, and late night gossip. I remember so clearly one night my freshmen year, a senior was talking about her time at college and was giving a group of us advice for the next four years. She said, “Sleep later. Get out and do everything you can with everybody you can right now because you have the rest of your life to catch up on sleep, but you don’t have the rest of your life to make these kinds of memories.”

Like what you read? Give Ashley Bushee a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.