All posts tagged: Graduate School

The Lessons I Had to Learn in Order to Survive Grad School

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 …

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 …

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 …

Surviving Stress & Other Things: The Election, DAPL, & Grad School

Lately I’ve been so busy with school that I’ve completely neglected this blog, as well as many other aspects of my life. So to jump back into it (because I may finally have a bit more free time) here are a few things that have recently been on my mind: The election → With the U.S. presidential election just three days away, I am scared. My friends and family are scared, and a large portion of the country and world is too. What if donald trump* becomes our next president? What then? I truly believe that with trump in the White House, the future of our country is at stake. I won’t feel comfortable, let alone safe, with an inexperienced, fragile, and hateful racist/sexist/xenophobic billionaire running our country. I am so exhausted by this entire election that there’s not much more I can say here other than, please vote. Please vote for Hillary Clinton. Whether you like her or not, she’s our only viable option (see: 25 Reasons Why I’m With Her). By not voting for Clinton, you’re allowing trump the possibility of …

My Advice for Incoming Grad Students

After completing my first year of graduate school, I jotted down a list of things I had learned and wished I knew before starting my program. While each graduate student’s experience can be astronomically different from the next’s (depending on one’s school, program, and their tendencies as a student) there are a few pieces of advice that I think are somewhat universal when it comes to surviving graduate school, and more importantly, retaining your happiness and wellbeing in the process. 1. Having great time management skills is necessary for getting through your program… Time management isn’t just a good school skill, it’s a necessary life skill. In order to make it through your masters program you must understand your priorities for every day, week, month, semester, and year. How each individual deals best with organizing their time varies person to person, but for a good starting point check out About Education’s list of general tips for time management in graduate school. 2. Practicing self-care is crucial… A few months ago I posted about practicing self-care, which I think is important no matter what stage of your life you are in. …

Exploring “Twin Peaks”

In honor of Twin Peaks Day, I’m reposting this video essay I made on the series last spring. Enjoy, and please feel free to share any feedback! For my final project for CTCS 587: Television Theory, a graduate Cinema & Media Studies course at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, I elected to do a video essay on Twin Peaks. In “Exploring ‘Twin Peaks’” I take a brief look at the production history of the series, as well as the show’s hybridization of genres. Because this was my first attempt at creating a video essay it certainly has its issues – but despite some technical and conceptual roadblocks, I truly enjoyed working on this project. In retrospect, I realize that I underestimated the amount of effort video essays require. From conducting research, to writing a script, recording voiceover, gathering clips, and assembling them into a cohesive format – it’s quite a time-consuming undertaking! All in all, I’d describe making a video essay as a labor-intensive, but immensely fun endeavor. I’m interested in exploring the video essay genre further, so any constructive criticism or feedback is welcomed. Incase you’re interested, here …

A Quick Update

Hey there, I haven’t been present on Catch-all these past couple of weeks for a number of reasons, but I plan on kicking it back into full gear by mid-May! My first year of graduate school is coming to an end, and to be completely honest, I just haven’t had enough time to dedicate to this blog. Later this month I’ll be posting about self-care, my favorite original series on Netflix, and a reflection on my first year living in Los Angeles. This summer, I plan to focus more of my work on critically analyzing and celebrating various forms of media, while also engaging with relevant pop culture topics. As usual, contributions and feedback are always welcome. Send me your short film, web series, or information about your crowdfunding campaign, and I’d be glad to share it on Catch-all. I hope you’re all having a wonderful spring, watching lots of high (and low) quality television, and finding enough time to relax and reflect. Best wishes ❤ Julia PS: Check out this inspiring video from the Sundance Institute on women in independent film, …

Summer of Independence

The summer I attended the Cannes Film Festival and spent three weeks in Italy was definitely the best of my life, but this one turned out to be pretty interesting too. I didn’t see Brad Pitt, and I didn’t climb to the top of a castle from the 10th century, but I did learn a lot about myself. These past few months were all about settling in to a new city and experiencing as much as possible before starting graduate school. I had a lot of fun, and I feel like I’ve definitely grown up a bit. As I get older, I find that what’s most difficult is that I’m constantly learning and adapting my world view, and sometimes, it’s hard to keep up. This summer I worked at a store in Beverly Hills, went to my first improv show, attended a Hollywood premiere, rode the subway, volunteered at a film festival, interned at a film festival, roamed the streets of downtown Los Angeles, rediscovered Disneyland, explored museums, showed my mom the city, visited home, and found myself just a little bit closer to becoming the woman I aspire to …