When considering the many pressures facing college students, the obvious issues come to mind. Getting good grades, adapting to the requirements of different professors, possible new living conditions or being away from home for the first time are just a few of the many changes that students may face. For those who are either on scholarships, being supported by family members or having their tuition and expenses covered by loans, money may not be the primary concern. For others, it may be a daily financial struggle. For those who have just left the relative security and routine of high school life, college can represent a quantum leap in social interactions and freedoms that have never been experienced before. Because of these changes in the social dynamic, confidence and self-esteem come into play in ways that the student may have never experienced. Self-image begins to take center stage and, as a result, options related to cosmetic surgery may become a primary focus.
According to a study by ScienceDirect, in a sample of 133 American college students, there was a significant increase in cosmetic surgery interest among those that received a negative comment regarding their appearance. Interestingly enough, the negative comments received by the students tended to focus on specific physical attributes such as weight, size or shape. Positive comments tended to focus on the student’s overall appearance. Other factors that can influence a college student’s interest in cosmetic surgery are the same factors that influence the general population. Namely, media input and the desire to mimic the physical “ideals” presented by celebrities. Seriously, Brigitte Bardot (my age is showing here) may have had pouty lips that made her on-screen appearances famous. But it was Angelina Jolie that made lip augmentation currently one of the most sought after cosmetic surgery procedures.
It is the consensus of the psychological community that the transformation from the adolescent concerns of high school to the more adult issues of college life can take a heavy toll on self-esteem. That, coupled with the new-found freedom of parent-free financial and medical choices has led many college students to express themselves through the shaping of their bodies to more desirable forms. Unlike most high school students, those in college can have the freedom to work part-time jobs in order to finance their own cosmetic surgery if parents will not assist. But this phenomenon is not limited to those just out of high school. Older individuals make up a significant portion of the student body of colleges nation-wide. Finding themselves in an environment where they co-exist with younger students, there is the tendency to compare physical attributes and can lead many to wish for a more youthful appearance.
But not all college students who are considering cosmetic surgery are doing so because of self-esteem issues. Others are taking a pragmatic approach to their employment future. Just as one would invest in a new job hunting wardrobe or a professional résumé writing service, others are considering perceived advantages obtained by altering their appearance. Graduating students being well aware of the emphasis that society, especially through the media, places on physical looks, understand the impact that “first appearances” can make during a job interview. In a highly competitive job market, every consideration is taken into account and college students are known for their attention to detail.