As a freshman honors student in college, I was required to take a one credit hour course dealing with different aspects of the honors program and college life. Truth be told, this course was not the most informative or useful course that I had taken during my four years. Although I often felt like I didn’t get much out of the class, I am thankful to have taken it for one and only reason.
For one of our classes, we were required to watch about an hour long video of a man discussing achieving your childhood dreams. This presentation was part of a lecture series at a university that professors gave based on the question/idea: If you had one last lecture to give, what would you say? As a college freshman, I was skeptical of the assignment and was somewhat doubtful that the video would actually be useful to me. Nevertheless, not wanting to be unprepared for class, I watched the video and was blown away! Not only did the video teach me about achieving your childhood dreams (as the title specified), it taught me about life, loss, and love. I was moved to fits of laughter and bouts of tears as I watched Randy Pausch!
Randy Pausch was a professor of computer science and human-computer interaction and design at Carnegie Mellon University. He seems to be a very accomplished individual and professor, having received tenure earlier than is usually expected. In 2006, Pausch found out that he had pancreatic cancer. Despite the fact that his health improved on and off, he was given a terminal diagnosis in August 2007. Nevertheless, he fought a couraegous battle until his death on July 25, 2008 at the age of 47, leaving his wife to raise their two young children. Seems kind of ironic that he would give a last lecture when he was dying, right? Pausch acknowledges this and approaches the presentation with such liveliness and vigor that you would never guess that he was dying. For Pausch, this truly was a last lecture.
I don’t want to talk a lot about the video because there’s no way I could do it any justice. However, if you have the time, I strongly urge you to watch it. Even if you don’t watch all of it. Even if you watch some today and the rest at a later time. Give the video a chance. Watching this video made me realize that I should be greatful for what I have and that things aren’t as bas as they seem. Pausch puts things into perspective and provides so much hope for us that you can’t help but walk away from this video feeling inspired.