Randy Pausch's Last Lecture
In Randy Pausch's Last Lecture, I cannot fathom the amount of inspiration that Mr. Pausch filled this auditorium with on this day. At the time, he was battling cancer with very little time to share his wisdom with us. Something that immediately struck a sensitive nerve with me was the moment he said he was born in 1960; thus, making Mr. Pausch the same age as my mother, give or take a few days, weeks, or months. He says that his childhood was easy because at that time it was easy to dream because of the many amazing things being accomplished in those years. I absolutely admire his statement that we must dream specifically. His list of childhood dreams reflects this directly. In the second dream of his, he tells us how he played football with the hopes to someday play for the NFL. One of his coaches arrived to the team's surprise without any footballs. When another teammate brought this to attention, Coach Graham proceeded to ask them how many players were on a field, in which they replied 22. He then questioned how many touched the ball at a given time, with the response one. With this, his coach made his point known by telling them that they will be practicing what the other 21 players not touching the ball were supposed to do.
Professor Pausch explained that this was the importance of fundamentals. As both an athlete and a coach, I can very deeply relate to the dire need for fundamentals. You cannot run and ride a bike before you start to walk. You cannot learn calculus without perfecting basic arithmetic. All of these things build upon each other. I feel that this also coincides with dreams. You have to achieve the small dreams first in order to begin your journey to your bigger dreams. Alongside of these achievements, Mr. Pausch explains that our success is often thwarted by "brick walls", but they are used to evaluate how badly we want something. He brings one of his brick walls up in his discussion of his application to become one of Disney's Imagineers. He tells us that he received some of the "nicest go to hell" letters he had ever received, and although it was a setback, he continued to follow his dreams. In which later, he was able to get on board to create the Disney virtual reality attraction of Aladdin's Magic Carpet Ride. This allowed the flood gates of possibility to burst open.
Another statement that stood out to me was when he said, "It is pretty easy to be smart when you are parenting smart people". I feel that the reason this seemed so important is because this relates back to education. It is easy to teach students who are willing to learn and grasp the concepts being taught easily. The challenge for educators lies in being able to give every student the ability to connect on their own level so that they succeed. It would be impossible to make it through a class without one person having trouble. Everyone learns in a different way. The way I may grasp information may be completely opposite and foreign to you. This is what we must be able to understand and overcome. As future educators, we have to be able to take a single objective and find multiple approaches that will end at the same destination.
He tells about the glory to be had when you can provide students with the opportunity to become excited about something. One of his favorite moments as the instructor of the high technology course, was part of a video done by one of his students. He explains that his course was all about bonding. This is something I feel very strongly about. Students can learn much easier when they create a bond between their teacher and other students. This gives everyone a chance to make themselves excited as well as others around them. The students can share in each others successes, and aid them in their weaknesses. This is an aspect that I want to practice in my classroom. I find that I can learn from my own professors when I can relate to them and feel like my education is important, not when I am just another student number in a classroom staring out the window, subconsciously in another world. What better way to teach than to engage students and give them something to look forward to during their day?
I am sad that I was not able to meet Professor Pausch. His inspiration in his Last Lecture as well as in his Time Management lecture knows no bounds. He was truly an amazing person that can teach us the true meaning that nothing is impossible. If we set forth the these we want to accomplish and make a drive towards them, then we, too, may be able to say that we achieved our childhood dreams just as Mr. Pausch did.