(NEW YORK) — Among the latest must-have accessories for students across the country heading back to college is one that might surprise you.
It’s not books or bedding. It’s breasts or, namely, plastic surgery to achieve a different look.
“I’m turning into this woman,” Kaelyn O’Rourke, 24, told ABC’s Good Morning America. “I feel older. I just want to look older.”
O’Rourke is a nursing student at Bakersfield College in California. As a teenager, her chest was the smallest of her friends. As a young adult, she viewed the top half of her body as being out of sync with her bottom half.
“I totally thought my boobs were going to grow and they never did,” said the community college student, whose pre-surgery chest was a size 34B. “I just want a fuller chest because I’m a girl with hips.”
O’Rourke turned to Dr. Tenley Lawton, an Orange County, Calif., plastic surgeon, for a pre-college surgery solution.
“It’d be nice if we could all be confident with, just the way that we look, but that’s not the reality,” Lawton said.
Also seeking help from Dr. Lawton was Jamie Ruddocks, a college junior from California who, at the other end of the spectrum, was interested in a breast reduction.
“Having large breasts is a burden on me physically,” said Ruddocks, 20, adding that she was teased mercilessly in high school for her size 34DDD chest. “It’s heavy and, after awhile, it starts to hurt. It starts to cause some wear and tear, not only on your back but your shoulders and your neck.”
Dr. Lawton estimated she would need to remove nearly a pound and a quarter of fat from each of Ruddocks’ breasts to reduce them to a size 34D.
“It’s not that we all have to fit into some perfect picture,” Lawton said. “If that small change can give them that self confidence, especially going to college, I think it can be important.”
Three weeks after being treated by Lawton, both O’Rourke and Ruddocks say they are happy with the changes to their bodies.
“I just feel better about myself,” O’Rourke said, noting that with her new C-cup size, she believes her top half is now as curvy as her bottom half. “I felt like I had more confidence walking in [to school].”
Ruddocks says the pains in her shoulders and back are gone now that her breasts are a regular D-size instead of triple Ds, and she feels better about herself.
“I just feel more confident,” she said. “I just feel like I can step into a room and let myself go. I feel like all the things that were making me self conscious are gone. …It’s the best thing I’ve done in my life.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Brianna Owczarzak and Rachel McCrary, CNN
Tamara Vaifanua, KSTU
Susie East, CNN
David Goldman, CNN