Author: Julia Van Valkenburg

Surviving Graduate School & The Lessons I’ve Learned

WOOHOO. I did what I honestly wasn’t sure I’d be able to do and finished graduate school. I’m grateful for the opportunity to pursue a graduate degree at such a prestigious university, but ultimately I’m most thankful for how I’ve grown as a person over these past two years. No matter what you’re studying, graduate school is extremely time-consuming, stressful, and often highly competitive. In my first semester we were required to take a professionalization course in which we learned about conferences, academia, and a lot of things that didn’t pertain to me since I was never interested in becoming a professor or pursuing a PhD. But one concept stuck with me, and that was the dreaded and all-consuming Imposter Syndrome. My entire graduate school experience was shaped by this syndrome, which Wikipedia characterizes as “a concept describing high-achieving individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a ‘fraud’.” (And yes, I wanted to use Wikipedia as a source since it’s such an academic no-no). I felt like an …

Final Thoughts Before the Return of “Twin Peaks”

Tonight’s the night! After re-watching Fire Walk With Me I have some final thoughts I wanted to put out there before the series premiere. *SPOILERS AHEAD* ON NOSTALGIA I’ve certainly been critical of “nostalgia-TV” in the past (see my post on Fuller House), and am particularly weary of 90’s specific reboots and revivals – but unlike other shows, the Twin Peaks return doesn’t bother me. Is my love for the show somewhat nostalgic? Yes, absolutely. Is its newfound popularity since it began streaming on Netflix at least slightly indebted to the grips of nostalgia? Surely. But more than that, Twin Peaks‘ adoration and acclaim should be credited to the fact that it was, and still is, an extremely well crafted, unique, intelligent, and inventive series that changed the televisual landscape forever. Based on how the original series ended and what I’ve gleaned from interviews, I imagine that the revival will pick up with “good Cooper” still stuck in the Black Lodge 25+ years later, trying to get out. Simply seeing the characters/actors return 26 years after the final episode is a return to the same, but I imagine that …

Summer Mood

Although it’s not technically summer yet, it sure feels like it to me. Last fall I posted a “mood board” here on Catch-all, which visually encapsulated my feelings during that time of year. I forgot to share something for winter and spring, but I’m so excited about this summer (woohoo, school’s out!) that I decided to come back with a summer post. I’m always inspired by the beach and the desert, but this summer I’m also enjoying bright, playful patterns, oranges and pinks, vintage Emilio Pucci, all things Lupita Nyong’o, Twin Peaks (It Is Happening Again), Wet Hot American Summer, fruity cocktails, greasy diner potatoes, purple flowers, and donuts and pies. What visuals (and tastes, smells, and sounds) are stimulating you this summer?

It Is Happening Again: “Twin Peaks” is Almost Back

After over 25 years, Twin Peaks is returning to television on Sunday, May 21st and I am so, so excited! Incase you don’t follow me on Twitter and see my annoyingly obsessive tweets, Twin Peaks is pretty much my favorite show of all time. I’m not an OG fan because I wasn’t even born until 1991, so I couldn’t watch it in its first run, but thanks to Netflix I discovered the series shortly after graduating from film school. As an undergraduate I took a television class in which my teacher lectured passionately about how important and revolutionary Twin Peaks was for TV, and it stuck with me. So once I realized it was on Netflix, I decided to give the series a shot and was absolutely floored by the first episode; immediately captured by its unique atmosphere. Twin Peaks is campy fun, but also terrifying. It’s surreal, yet frighteningly close to reality. It’s sometimes lighthearted, though often horrific and dark. Each episode catapulted me through a series of emotions from start to finish. It captured my attention in a way that no other show has, or I presume ever will. I …

26 Goals for My 26th Year

For the past couple of years I’ve done a post on my birthday (last year’s was 25 of my favorite things/feelings, and the year before was 24 lessons I’ve learned in 24 years). Although I’m not the type of person who cares too much about birthdays, I’ve enjoyed doing these posts because they provide me with the opportunity to reflect on my life thus far and give some thought to the future. It feels like just yesterday that I wrote that post for my 24th birthday, but it’s been two years! Does anyone else feel like time seems to move faster the older you get? Anyways, this year I decided my birthday list would be 26 things I’d like to do/accomplish in my 26th year. Let me know in the comment section below what some of your hopes for this year are! 1. Run a 5k without stopping (graduate school has made me out-of-shape and lazy) 2. See New York City for the first time 3. Have one of my essays published on an online publication 4. Have one of my essays published …

Reflections on “Emerson”

It’s my last week of classes at USC before I graduate, which basically means it’s my final week of school ever since I definitely don’t plan on getting my PhD! WOOT. I’m feeling a mix of emotions, but I’m mainly excited. Graduate school has made me a better, smarter person, but I’m certainly ready for the next, non-academic chapter in my life. I never really was a procrastinator before grad school, but these past two years I’ve spent plenty of late nights getting work done at the very last-minute. As someone with a fine arts degree, I think it’s because writing non-stop scholarly work is too strenuous for me. I need to take breaks and make stuff, beyond shaping flowery words into poignant statements on cinema, TV, and culture. I don’t consider myself an artist by any means, but I like working with my hands – putting pictures into thrifted frames, moving furniture, making photo collages – and research and academic writing, as much as I enjoy it, doesn’t satisfy those needs. But making short films does, and I …

Business & Leisure in San Diego

This past weekend my sister accompanied me to San Diego, CA, where I presented a paper at the Popular Culture Association and American Culture Association’s national conference. My paper, titled “How YouTube and Instagram are Normalizing Veganism,” analyzes the ways in which vegan cooking and lifestyle content creators appropriate mainstream YouTube aesthetics, and examines the importance of a strong digital community for vegans. While the purpose of my trip was to present at the conference, I spent the majority of my time hanging out with my sister in and around San Diego. On our way down from Los Angeles we stopped in San Juan Capistrano, Del Mar, La Jolla, and Coronado Island, and in San Diego we spent time at Balboa Park and around Old Town. We also drank great coffee from Heartwork Coffee Bar and Dark Horse Coffee Roasters, and stuffed ourselves with food from Kindred and Barra Barra. Presenting at PCA/ACA not only gave me the chance to work on my public speaking skills (I’m doing better but there’s so much room for improvement), but it also provided me with some much-needed time for …

Migraine Madness

A few months ago I wrote a post on my horrifying experience while taking a migraine medication. Now, I’ve decided to write a brief, somewhat cathartic post on migraines in general. I suffer from severe chronic migraines and have for most of my life. What’s extremely frustrating about being a migraine sufferer is the fact that “migraine” is a term in popular culture that’s synonymous with “headaches.” But migraines aren’t just headaches. My migraines have sent me to the hospital and multiple MRI scanners. I’ve had half of my body go numb, forgotten how to speak, and thrown up more times than I care to think about. Migraines can impair my vision and impede my ability to think clearly. Because of my migraines I’ve had a variety of neurologists throughout my life and each have provided me with medications and vitamin regimens, but nothing seems to do away with them entirely. My migraines hurt me more days than not. My chronic migraines are a disease, despite what society-at-large may think, and I’m tired of suffering. While this blog …

PLAYLIST: Current Mood

Listed below is a bit of what I’ve been listening to lately – what I’m calling my current mood playlist. Most of it’s old stuff, or songs I’ve been into for years, but some of it’s new to me. Getting a record player (check out Fun with Vinyl) has in many ways reinvigorated my love of music and made it a priority in my life again. In high school I was constantly listening to new bands and artists, going to concerts, and exchanging mix CD’s with my friends. Over the years I’ve lost a bit of that enthusiasm, but I’m trying to get it back. Music is a gift to indulge in and share, so let me know what you’re listening to. What’s on your current mood playlist?

The 7 Blogging Rules I’m Always Breaking

Lately I’ve been thinking about all of the sort of universal blogging and social media marketing rules that I should be following, but don’t. The truth is, I break most of these rules despite knowing that they would surely improve my blog. But is Catch-all successful already? Well that depends on how you define success… In almost every way you look at it, my blog isn’t successful. I’ve been working on it for years and it hasn’t taken off yet and may never. But that’s okay, because I like writing and blogging and for that reason I consider it a triumph in my own terms. Catch-all is a place where I can share my writing, thoughts, and photos, and people will either read, look at it, and share it, or they won’t. And that’s okay. Though I’m still trying to figure out what the identity of this blog truly is and how to best support it, I’m also just enjoying the journey and not giving it much thought. But after working on this list it became clear that if I do ever …