Mekayla Phan – Living the Dream After High School


Hannah B Photography

Mekayla looking phenomenal in her UA graduation photo.

Paula Le, Editor

Mekayla Phan is living the dream everyone wishes to experience in their lifetime, especially moving on from high school. As Class of 2017, Mekayla has been active these past four years that is not easy to execute.

During her time working at the Arizona Daily Wildcat (The Daily Wildcat on Instagram).

Life after graduating from Sahuaro High School has been eventful, to say the least. As Mekayla attended the University of Arizona, she balanced her studies with various activities within four years. Aside from working many jobs, Mekayla also wrote for the Arizona Daily Wildcat. “I was a News Reporter for two years and the Arts and Life Editor for a semester before the pandemic hit. I also interned at Tucson Local Media and Madden Media.” In the end, she graduated in August of this year with a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a specialization in global journalism. “I had a thematic minor in how diverse languages and cultures are communicated in storytelling.”

Mekayla in a hanbok, a traditional Korean dress, at Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul.

Where is Mekayla Phan now? “I’m currently traveling with my best friend in Asia, looking for adventure, trying my hand at freelancing, and finding future job opportunities for me.” As of this moment, she is in South Korea. Yes, you heard me right. “I have already been living in Seoul for a bit over two months now.” Mekayla reveals how she and her friend, Nkengafac Njungeh (a Sahuaro graduate as well), are currently in a three-month program where they tutor individuals in conversational English. While she voices how it’s colder than she’s used to, once the program ends, she and Njungeh are considering traveling to Vietnam and Thailand before returning to the states.

Even after four years, Mekayla Phan is still in touch with her high school friends such as Nkengafac Njungeh and Frankie Acuña. “We have been together throughout college and beyond, and they’ve become my irreplaceable friends. From the eight or nine years of knowing each other, we have seen each other grow up in so many ways.”

Her passion for journalism had to have started somewhere though. Mekayla insisted she has always been a writer and storyteller all her life. “However, it was The Paper Cut that sparked my interest in journalism.

The two bestirs experiencing Korea’s scenery.

I was there when The Paper Cut was started by Ms. Lange. I helped build the policies of the paper, and in a sense, we were all guinea pigs in an experiment. But I had a lot of fun interviewing people, and I found my love of sharing their real-life stories to the world.”

“I am still very passionate about journalism and would love to pursue it in the future.”

When starting a new chapter, the future being unknown can be intimidating. For Ms. Phan here, she knows life is full of changes, that we are full of changes. “Don’t worry too much(…) And while change can be difficult at times, it can also be fun. So might as well carpe diem–seize every moment, follow what makes you happy or what you’re passionate about, work hard for the success you want or dream, and be thankful for what you have every day.

Mekayla at Palgonsan Mountain in Daegu.

Everything will be okay if you believe it could.”

-Words of advice from her personal experiences after graduating from Sahuaro.