Saturday, March 6, 2010

Randy Pausch's Last Lecture

Randy Pausch's lecture was basically about dreams and life experience. I thought is was amazing. He is such a positive person and it was a pleasure to hear the stories he had to give. Mr. Pausch said this lecture was once referred to as the Last Lecture because it was the lecture he would want to give before he died. He started the lecture out by telling the audience about how sick he was, but the fact that he was in great shape. He then goes on to talk about himself as a child and shows pictures of himself smiling and dreaming. I personally liked when he said, "The idea that anything is possible; that's something that we should not lose sight of is that the inspiration and the permission to dream is huge." Mr. Pausch did his best to make his dreams come true and learned from each of his dreams.

Dreams get you to where you need to go. Even if your dream does not exactly come true, it helps you become a greater person. Mr. Pausch wanted to be a NFL player, but he did play football for a while. Not exactly his dream, but it gave him experience and he learned a lot from that experience. He said that he learned more from this dream not coming true than he did from any other dream! I wanted to be a dancer forever, but I was never great enough to really get far with it! I stuck with that dream though and learned a lot from many dance schools. I would not be who I was today if I hadn't received the experience from my dance teachers, fellow students, and mentors. Dreams are so important and really enhance life so much.

He talked about meeting his childhood hero, Captain Kirk, which is really William Shatner. He came into the lab at MIT to see what Mr. Pausch had done. He also had a dream of being a Disney Imagineer! As you may have read in other posts, I am a huge Disney fan, so it delighted me to know we had that in common. Disney did turn him down, but he was positive about the situation and said that the walls were there for a reason. The walls show how much you want something. Everyone hits those brick walls every once and a while and the pain from the hit hurts! We just have to get right back up and try harder. Eventually, Mr. Pausch did succeed and was able to work on the Aladdin project. How exciting! He made a virtual reality for Aladdin and he did such a good job he was invited to become an Imagineer. He turned the job down, but he did go work with the Imagineers from time to time. He helped create the Jungle Cruise ride for Disney Quest! It was fun to know that he had created a ride experience that I love.

After talking about dreams for himself, he talked about helping others with their dreams. Mr. Pausch helped a student named Tommy achieve his dream to work on a Star Wars film. He created a course called "Building Virtual Worlds" at Carnegie Mellon to give students experience with virtual creations. The students got really into it and wanted to share these creations with the school! People from all over the school departments came and it looked awesome from the pictures. He did show a clip from a creation called Hello.World. The bunny was really creepy and freaked me out. I did not enjoy that character, but the concept was cool. When all the bunnies and creatures started dancing, I thought I was gonna lose it and the end is really freaky too. Please people, if you make another virtual world, do not make creepy bunny worlds that resemble Telletubby land. The class really did inspire the students and help them to live out their dreams. After 10 years of teaching the course, he handed the course over to a former student. Pausch then created the Dream Fulfillment Factory with Don Martinelli. The class promoted entertainment technology and you were required to make 5 virtual reality projects that pertained to entertainment technology. He helped students learn how to work with groups which made them more successful. Mr. Pausch did his best to make as many students' dreams come true as possible. He loved that his students are having fun while learning something hard.

The last part of the lecture revolved around the lessons that Mr. Pausch has learned. He talks about his parents, mentors, and students and the role that they played in his life. His parents sounded like wonderful people and I enjoyed the pictures and stories. He also says that you not only learn from a teacher, a teacher will learn from you. One student named Caitlyn helped him realize that if he presented the Alice project as a storytelling activity, that students would enjoy it more. He talked about former experiences and said a lot of things I have heard a lot, but they were so much better in the context that he put them in. He said to never lose childlike wonder, help others, always have fun, be loyal, never give up, and let people help you.

This lecture was so good and I enjoyed the whole hour and sixteen minutes of it. I was really worried that it was going to be boring, but I would advise anyone to listen to the lecture. I think this is what any parent would want their child to hear. Following your dreams and achieving your dreams is possible if you try hard enough and Randy Pausch makes this very clear. By the way, if you're wondering about the picture in the top corner, it is peas talking about their childhood dreams. I thought it was cute. As a teacher, I want to help all of my students reach their dreams and Mr. Pausch truly inspired me.


  1. I agree, the experiences we get from following our dreams even if they don't pan out exactly like we planned are extremely valuable to our life long journey. I had a similar experience to yours with dancing except my dream was to be a professional musician. I studied music for two years as a piano performance major and quickly realized that I was just talented enough to keep me interested but I would not likely become one of the greats. However, I would not trade my music and the enjoyment I get from it for anything. I still play guitar, piano, and sing to this day and like you said about dance, I would not be who I am without music in my life. ss

  2. Good blog post! He was extremely inspirational about reaching our dreams and helping others achieve theirs.