Student spends lifetime growing her long locks



Sara Schepis, a graduate in Library & Information Science, has never had her hair cut in her life. “When I was young, my mom just really liked long hair,” Schepis said. “I continued growing it because I love it long.” Erica Magda

By April Dahlquist

Sara Schepis is no Rapunzel. However, with locks over 37 inches long, she comes in at a close second.

Schepis, a graduate student in Library and Information Science, has hair longer than half her body.

Having never cut her hair, Schepis usually sports a three-foot-long braid around campus.

“It wasn’t one day that I decided not to cut it,” Schepis said. “My mom always liked having my sister and I to have long hair and she would comb it out for us. By high school, I really liked it and it was special to me.”

Schepis trims her hair every couple of months to make sure she doesn’t have any split ends. Other than that, she has never made a trip to a salon for a major cut.

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“I decided I would cut it only when I felt there was a really big transition in my life,” Schepis said. “Like, if I got married or joined the convent, to signify a new chapter in my life.”

Having been approached many times for Locks of Love, she promises to donate it when she does make this decision. The hair will be donated to children suffering hair-loss.

“It’s something I care about. Whatever I feel called to do, I will be giving up my hair as a symbol of dedication to that person rather than ‘just something new,'” Schepis said.

Schepis’ family is supportive of her decision to wear long hair and describes the length as part of her identity.

“Sara is secure in who she is and what she likes. I think her hair links her to her past and also reminds her of the strength that she has gained over the years, which helps her move onward,” said Joanne, Schepis’ younger sister.

Learning how to braid by practicing on tails of her My Little Ponies, Schepis finds this style easiest to wear.

In her lifetime of long hair, Schepis also discovered that after 37 inches, her hair doesn’t seem to be getting any longer.

“The hair follicle is always going to create the same amount of hair,” said Debbie Wolfe, stylist at Hairbenders. “It won’t ever stop growing just like your skin will never stop exfoliating. It just might not be as visibly noticeable.” Despite the length of her hair, Schepis should have no major hair health problems since she trims her hair regularly, said Lindsey Nelson, manager of Lando Hairstyling.

“Her hairline might (recede) because the hair is so heavy. Especially if you let it rest in a pony tail,” Nelson said.

Besides the health aspect, Schepis also deals with maintaining her long locks. She routinely washes, combs, dries and braids all of it – a processes she said takes 20 minutes.

Schepis has had her braid sat on, slammed in a car door, called a weapon and accused of being fake. But in the end, Schepis enjoys answering the questions of her interested peers and likes having this unique physical quality.

“Everyone has one feature that they really like about themselves. Mine is my hair,” Schepis said.