Cody Thomas’ father thinks his son’s life is ruined.

Thomas, a 19-year-old networking services sophomore at Santa Fe College, has size 4-gauge, 5.189 mm, stretched earlobes.

“I can tell, when people are looking at me, that they think I may not be up to society’s standards,” Thomas said. “They feel that since I have these holes in my ears that there may be something wrong with me.”

According to a recent article in Inked Magazine, a tattoo lifestyle magazine, two out of five students have some sort of body modification.

Michelle Clarkson, a 19-year-old UF journalism sophomore, has two tattoos, one on her wrist and one on her foot. Her wrist tattoo is for her sister, who was diagnosed with cancer, and her foot tattoo represents her faith.

She said people have come up to her and asked her the meaning behind her tattoos, which she appreciates. She said she doesn’t believe she is viewed as a delinquent because her tattoos are “delicate looking.”

The professional world differs from the way society views a tattoo, especially businesses in the public eye.

Post-graduation job hunting is a difficult time for students with the U.S. economy still on a steady decline, according to a July 23 CNBC article.

Thomas doesn’t believe a body modification would hurt his chance at a job.

“I’ve talked with people in networking and they do not care about your physical appearance, they care more about your intelligence,” he said. “That is what it usually comes down to.”

Clarkson said she decided to be safe and got her tattoos on parts of her body she can cover easily.

Individual business policies on the body modification issue differ depending on the workplace.

Jonathan Goldberg, a lawyer at Goldberg Law Office, 1013 SW Second Ave., said his hiring policies are different.

“It’s a personal preference,” he said. “If the interviewee meets the standards for the job we aren’t going to avoid them because they chose to express themselves.”

Goldberg said the exception is if they had enough piercings or tattoos to make a client feel uncomfortable.

Then, he wouldn’t be able to hire him or her.

Whether a tattoo or a stretched earlobe, there’s no consensus about how employers feel about body modifications. Thomas had a solution to the worrying.

“Be who you want to be and don’t worry about what other people think about you,” he said. “Once you do that, you lose sight of who you are in this world.”