All posts filed under: Thoughts

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?

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 …

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 …

Watch Abha Dawesar’s TED Talk: “Life in the ‘Digital Now'”

I don’t often watch or listen to TED Talks, but when I happen across one while endlessly scrolling online or listening to NPR – like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “We Should All Be Feminists” – they always seem to emerge at the perfect time in my life. And I love novelist Abha Dawesar’s “Life in the ‘Digital Now,’” not only because she’s brilliant and speaks to so much about our digital lives that I’ve been trying to grasp, but her talk came into my life at the exact moment I needed it. I’m currently taking an entertainment business class at USC about digital technology and the entertainment industry. For the most part I thoroughly enjoy the course, but I wasn’t prepared for all of the focus on futurism and our likely destinies as tech-obsessed individuals and societies. Taking this class has made me realize that talk of a hyper-technological reality is personally anxiety inducing. And visions of a world filled with AR, VR, and AI are absolutely terrifying. I may be typing this blog post using WordPress on my laptop, and I …

Spring Break in Tucson

When this posts I will hopefully (sorry, I’m superstitious) be in Tucson, AZ for the week. Living next to the state you originated from – though worlds away – is nice in that if I need to come home or want to, I can. Other than money or time off, there isn’t much that stands in the way of my ability to go home. There’s no massive divide of time, distance, or red tape. When I miss my family or friends back in Tucson, I just imagine a map of the U.S., and how close I really am to them. I’m also grateful, especially in these politically turbulent times, that I don’t face the absolute inability to see my family or place of origin that millions of others do. The pain that they experience on a daily basis is truly unfathomable. And knowing that borders are just unreal, imagined lines, surely makes the distance even more insufferable. As I work my way through my last semester of graduate school, I’m trying to build a more efficient, sustainable, and enjoyable …