We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold…just kidding. That’s not where I wound up four months after graduating from Clarion.
Since graduating in May, my new life as a fully independent adult has been a roller coaster ride of dips, turns, climbs and corkscrews.
I now reside in Cranberry Township, just a half an hour north of Pittsburgh. Other than enjoying the city’s many great amenities like Pirates games, the Andy Warhol Museum and the always delicious Chipotle, I’ve also been introduced to new people and the stories that precede them.
I started work at The Cranberry Eagle in June, less than a month after graduating. The twice-weekly, free paper is a bureau office for The Butler Eagle about a half hour north of us.
The newsroom in Cranberry is small, comprising just three reporters. In fact the entire office including ad staff and graphic designers is held down by 10 people.
When I first arrived, it was the end of election season and the start of festival season. To make things even more strenuous, another reporter put in his two weeks just before I started. I worked with him for just three days before he left for Beaver County. I helped cover four different festivals this summer, including Mars New Year in Mars, Community Days in Cranberry Township, Horse Trading Days in Zelienople and St. Gregory Lawn Fete Festival in Zelienople.
My now former editor said it was the most overtime we ever worked in his tenure there.
Other stories that are now normal for me to cover include borough council meetings, stories on land and business development and church and school features. It’s come to the point where I now measure time by meetings and not by months.
However, my time here has given me the chance to fulfill my inner fanboy. Just last month, I had the opportunity to interview Steelers great Hines Ward. He recently opened his new restaurant Table 86 and wine bar VINES in Seven Fields. When the newsroom was asked who would take up the story, my hand raised like an excited 3rd grader.
Ward was one of the nicest people I interviewed. He was soft-spoken, humble and full of heart over his latest endeavor, saying he wanted to be part of the growth the area has been experiencing for the past several years now.
My inner Star Wars fan is also jumping with joy. Ewan McGregor (Obi-Wan Kenobi) will be coming to Harmony, a small borough just north of where I live later this month to shoot his directorial debut, “American Pastoral.”
Needless to say, I’m trying to land an interview with him. Even if I don’t get the interview, I will definitely be there for shooting.
Along with all that, I decided to help our sports staff by covering Friday night high school football games. All I can say is I wish I had started sooner, because it’s worth the four-hour nights. It’s about time I used my sports knowledge for something productive.
So yes, being a taxpaying member of the workforce does have its benefits at times.
Other than the five-day, eight-hour work week, it’s just budgeting, paying bills, building up savings and keeping food in the kitchen.
Perhaps the best piece of advice I can give being an “adult” for four months is fill up that resume and make good connections, but have fun while you’re still in college. Don’t waste your days doing nothing, and make memories you’ll want to look back on while sitting in a cubicle.
And remember, it’s never too late to make friends… or enemies.
Buy the ticket, take the ride.