30 by 30: Saving the best for last

#7 Watch every Oscar best picture
#9 Finish my degree

#7 Watch every Oscar best picture
This might not seem like like a big, life changing event.

Pardon me if I tell you that it kind of was.

I picked this list of movies because of the number of films on it of which I had never seen. The thing about Oscar winners is that it’s a pretty sure bet that the movies in this list had a firm grasp on the culture, at least of the year in which it was the winner.

Some of these I had scene before I started the list (The Titanic, Casablanca, Forrest Gump) but most of which I hadn’t. I’d never seen The Godfather, Gone With the Wind, or even The Sound of Music. I picked this list in particular because it really encapsulated culturally-relevant movies that I hadn’t seen.

I was sick of seeing references to The Godfather or Schindler's List or Braveheart without having seen the movies. So I picked a list that I thought had the most socially relevant movies on it: the Oscar winners of every year

So I watched every single Oscar best picture winner for the last 87 years.

I thought it would be one of those lists that seemed kind of arbitrary, and then I just watched them. I’m not sure I would have had the occasion to watch this particular list of culturally significant movies.

It was so much more enlightening than I expected. In addition to the movies I would have already seen or were culturally necessary, I got to see movies like the Deer Hunter, The Apartment (one of my favorites) or On the Waterfront (drool over baby Marlon Brando). I got to majorly expand my horizons watching the movies on this list, and it will keep me forever open to the movies that will win this award in the future.

#9 Finish my degree
This was a hell of a trek. And I feel very embarrassed to admit all of this to you. But here I go anyways, because this list is about admission and exposure and pushing forward.

It’s hard to explain the work that went into 11 years of getting my Bachelor’s degree.

I was seriously social and basically anti-academic in college. I was far more concerned with having friends than I was with finishing classes.

So after 5-1/3rd years of school and still not having a clue what I wanted to do with my degree, I just kind of quit. I went home and figured that I could go back anytime to get the three credits I thought I had left (it turned out to be nine). I needed to figure out what I wanted or needed in life, and then get the school to prove it.

Eleven years after I started my degree, though, I was done trying to figure it out.

I had finally decided what I wanted to be, and just had to go about actually getting it (and getting the academic degree behind that thing). So I did.

I had been putting it off for so long and I finally did the work to finish the degree.

I think I’d been delaying my future because I was so scared of what would come after college. Even now, I’m not sure what’s next. I know I went to journalism school knowing that I didn’t want to become a writer. But I think I came out with the skills and resources of a solid editor. I wanted to get to know strangers, but I also wanted to be able to coach writers to be the best that they could be.

I’ve spent six years trying to convince employers that I learned something back in college and that journalism skills are transferable (they are, email me for tips). I spent this time trying to figure out what I knew and what I loved and how to collide the two. I think I finally figured it out.

So now I get to decide if the next step for me is more work in an industry I really care about or if it’s grad school to get my MBA and become a project manager. I think these next couple of months will be really telling. Either I’ll be working for a company I’m seriously passionate about, or I’ll be studying hard for the GMAT so I can get a leg up with a major local company.

Either way, I’ll be working towards my future in a more focused way than ever before, and that’s really exciting to me, especially in the context of 2010 college-dropout Ila.