Liz* knew that she wanted a nose job for as long as she can remember. So when faced with two and a half months of free time before she came to college, she wasn’t going to sit around and watch Netflix. Liz went to the hospital and got her rhinoplasty in May of her senior year of high school.
“I don’t want to be a model,” says the Medill sophomore. “But I always felt I would look a little better if I had it.”
Michael Howard, a plastic surgeon who has worked in the NorthShore Medical Group for five years, says about 20 percent of his client base consists of people in their teens to early twenties. High school and college are both favored times for surgery because of the long breaks incorporated into the school schedules, which allow for adequate recovery time.
“You can go away and have something done and come back and people will notice less,” Howard says.
Communication sophomore Troy* underwent rhinoplasty this past July. With hopes of being an actor after graduating college, Troy wanted to change his nose to meet the aesthetic demands of Hollywood. For him, the surgery wasn’t a life changing experience — just a necessary investment in his future.
Troy also had a deviated septum before the surgery, which prevented him from breathing correctly out of the right side of his nose.
“I wasn’t one of those people who thought that my nose was the only thing bringing me down socially,” Troy says.
Like Troy, SESP sophomore Claudia* also wanted to have rhinoplasty because of a deviated septum. But only after she and her doctor decided to go for the surgery did she elect to get a nose job as well.
“It’s just something I don’t think about,” Claudia says. “Before, I thought about it all the time.”
Liz says although the surgery improved her confidence, it ultimately had little impact on her life.
“Nothing about me has changed,” she says. “I guess I feel a little different but at this point, I don’t even remember what it looked like before.”
Despite these students’ indifference about the actual surgery, Howard says surgery of any kind is nothing to take lightly.
“Plastic surgery is not just getting your nails done,” he says. “It is a big deal.”
Troy’s surgery was his first major operation, and although he says the recovery period was uncomfortable, that’s not the reason why wouldn’t do again.
“I wouldn’t want to give up that kind of time again,” he says. “It’s very boring.”
*Names changed for students who would only speak on the condition of anonymity.