Illustrations coordinator Procrastinates Her 9-Page Essay, Writes 30 Column

Carlyssa Phoon, Illustrations Coordinator

On a sunny August morning in 2020, I woke up on a mattress on a frat house floor, severely hungover. Sunlight streamed through the grimy windows. I checked the time — 10:30. Wait a minute — 10:30?! I got my butt and my dignity off the floor and tore out of the house, sprinted a mile to interview with the then-editor-in-chief of the Daily Texan, made it to my interview exactly on time, managed not to throw up while interviewing and was officially inducted into this publication. College was off to a strong start. 

I’m so thankful that my foolish freshman self had the intuition to apply to the Daily Texan. Thanks to her, I can attribute many random skills to my three years here: walking down basement steps in absolute darkness, dodging gum and random spillages with cat-like reflexes on said steps, and knowing how to use Adobe apps and Trello like the back of my hand. 

More importantly, the Texan has fostered my growth as a person. I have developed a thick skin (as one naturally does when they submit one of their best illustrations and get humbled by Peter Chen in the critique the following day; there’s hardly a greater roast than “Interesting … I don’t get it”), but I’ve learned to revel in the wins as well (seeing my art in newsrack windows around campus, seeing my illustrators grow and refine their art style, getting a shocking amount of free food). 

As I’ve navigated highs and lows, undergoing the college student metamorphosis from foolish freshman to senior sage, the Texan has served as a haven. I think of the wonderfully mundane moments sitting around the ping pong table playing games, chatting and laughing with staffers after a long day, or doing homework in Megan’s office.

Graduating is bittersweet. I am seriously grateful for every single person I’ve met at the Texan, whether we met during a random Bananarchy run, or we’ve led our opinion sub-department to glory (hey Schuyler), or you’ve constantly supported and advocated for me (hey Megan). The illustrators I’ve helped guide and worked alongside with are so talented and never fail to amaze me with their beautiful work and incredibly stupid humor. There’s an unexplainable allure about being a part of a group where everyone is working for a higher purpose and is willing to put in those late hours of delirium in the basement. 

Every single person I’ve met at the Daily Texan is kind, intelligent, and driven, and because of that, I will always look back on my time here very fondly.