OPINION COLUMNS

Riding the wave of adulthood; Transitioning from college life to full-time newshound

By David Talley | Published Wednesday, January 6, 2016
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I’m employed, and it feels good.

Now that I’ve graduated from Texas Tech, I’ve taken an official job in the Messenger newsroom after interning here between every semester since summer 2014.

Although I’ve been looking forward to this day, going from student to employee has been a bit of a culture shock.

David Talley

David Talley

For instance, I haven’t stayed up all night because of schoolwork or sold unused clothes to buy food in more than three weeks. I’m a professional now. And I’m charging headfirst into the world of adulthood.

This has presented a unique set of challenges. Reality isn’t always what I want it to be.

I’ve started looking into getting a 401K, even though I’m not totally sure what that is. In fact, the entire subject of finances is foreign and terrifying to me.

I’ve been told I need to apply for a credit card to start building a credit history, but credit cards also seem to be a source of financial trouble for most adults.

If I had it my way, I’d pay for everything with cash, and no one would buy things they couldn’t afford.

Between car insurance, cell phone bills, taxes and the birthdays of friends and family, adulthood requires you to remember a lot of things, and the consequences of forgetting can range from an offended friend to an arrest warrant.

In college, we had blackboard.com, a website for teachers to assign homework, send messages and list grades. If I had it my way, adulthood would have a blackboard.com so I could keep track of everything.

There are several other key differences between college and working life.

Where college had extra credit, adulthood now has overtime. While extra credit usually involved watching a video or attending an event, overtime at the Messenger often involves a noisy police scanner and a trip across the county in the middle of the night.

College had final exams, and adulthood has Tax Day. We’re not there yet, so I’ll let you know how it compares in about four months.

This is all terrifying, but working at the Messenger has made my short stint in adulthood a great experience.

The staff are some of the nicest, most encouraging folks I’ve ever met. Reporting on fatal wrecks and house fires is an awful experience for everyone involved, but I do it for them.

I look forward to going to work every day. I could never say that about school.

I feel like I’ve grown as a writer here, thanks to feedback from my coworkers. It’s still amazing to me that a group with so much collective experience and skill has given a greenhorn like me so many opportunities.

The Messenger staff celebrates almost everything with food, which is fantastic for the perpetually-hungry part of me that’s still in college, living on free stuff. I guess not everything has changed.

David Talley transformed from the Messenger’s star intern to full-time reporter. Look for him at a meeting or breaking news event near you.

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