Living a double life in Pittsburgh is easier than you think

Living a double life in Pittsburgh is easier than you think

Living in Pittsburgh is interesting. It’s one of the only cities where me leading my double lifestyle is acceptable.
Monday-Thursday I am Mike Zoller — associate editor for The Jewish Chronicle. Friday-Sunday I am Mike Zoller — college student.
Like I said, Pittsburgh is in a unique position for young professionals coming right out of college. The fact that the city has more colleges and universities than the Pirates have wins, allows me to still have that college frame of mind. However, my two lifestyles must be well balanced so one does not affect the other.
In the majority of situations, Associate Editor Mike will always trump college Mike — mainly because in just about any other city, I couldn’t keep this college lifestyle going.
What’s even better about this whole situation is that I still look like a college student. In fact, when most people meet me, they don’t think associate editor, they think drunken college student keeping them up at 3 a.m. on a Saturday night.
And who knows, you might have already run into me and not even realized it. Whether you passed me on Murray Avenue, the grocery store or that guy working out next to you at the JCC, I’m able to fly under the radar draped in the shadow of the University of Pittsburgh or Carnegie Mellon.
Believe me, it’s not easy keeping my two sides separate. Deep down I am a kid at heart. I will fully admit I own five pairs of Spongebob Squarepants boxers, the entire first season and yes, even the movie — I swear it’s not an obsession. But at the same time, I feel that I’m just one step away from joining the elderly men playing gin rummy every day at the JCC. There aren’t too many Spongebob fans that also can lay down a gin; perhaps I’m the only one.
The temptation is there every day and every night. Just six months ago I would go out every night. Now I’m in bed by 10 p.m., missing out on the Monday night karaoke night my fraternity still goes to every week. My fraternity family is belting out the lyrics to “Sweet Caroline,” while I sleep preparing to fight the alarm clock the next morning.
What makes this situation even weirder for me is that I don’t work Fridays. And if you don’t know that much about college, the goal is to never have Friday classes. A goal I successfully achieved five semesters in a row, including my last semester when I accomplished the ultimate feat of having no classes on Thursday or Friday.
So each and every day I carry this double life on my back — young professional during the week, pretend University of Pittsburgh graduate student (I’ve always wanted to say I was one) during the weekend.
I’ve been very good at keeping them apart. However, I know the time will come when the two worlds collide — won’t that be an interesting situation.
But I’m well aware that eventually it will happen. I don’t know when or where. But if one night you’re out late whether it is on the South Side Station Square or the Waterfront and you see me (that is if you can recognize me), don’t shy away. Let us embrace my professional world and my college world coming together.
Just remember — you buy the first round.

(Mike Zoller’s column “On My Own,” which will be published monthly, deals with issues facing a young Jewish adult as he lives on his own in a new city for the first time. Have a comment or a topic you would like to see written about? E-mail them to

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