Thursday, October 6, 2011

Blog Post #7

For this assignment, I watched Randy Pausch Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams . This literally was his last lecture. Right at the beginning of his speech, he states that he has cancer, and he will only live for maybe another year. He then proceeds to tell the audience about his childhood dreams which are basically the same as any young child's, imaginative and far-fetched, and he elaborates on how he achieved these dreams throughout his life. Also, he explains in detail how these experiences helped him learn and gain experience throughout his life. He puts a great amount of emphasis on "getting past brick walls", and "always bringing something to the table". These dreams really frame how he became such a success. For example, when he was young, he always enjoyed football. His coaches, who were lifetime role-models for Randy, taught him many valuable life lessons such as never give up and always admire the fact that someone may criticize you. They also taught him about the importance of enthusiasm and that fundamentals and hard work are what people primarily need to succeed.

The next section of his speech begins by him asking, "How can I enable the dreams of others?" He tells of how he finally made the move to Carnegie Mellon University and how he implemented a course where students worked in randomly organized groups and made basically whatever type of virtual reality that they want. He was absolutely blown away by the quality of the students' work, but he made sure to always push them farther. The work became so great that they actually had presentations where people from all over the school would attend just to see the final work of these students. He eventually passed the course onto one of his students, which he claimed is one of his greatest accomplishments at CMU.

Next, he speaks about how to made the Dream Fulfillment Factory where the drama department and CS departments would collaborate on projects. Graduating from the program would leave a student with a Masters of Entertainment Technology degree. Not bad. Randy and his co-director of the factory, Don Marinelli, had complete freedom to do whatever they wanted with ETC. This program became so successful that students there are actually guaranteed a job if they graduate. No other college in the world does this, and I found it particularly impressive. CMU has even expanded the ETC to Australia and Singapore. This led to Randy designing a program called Alice. Alice is a program in which students learn to program, but they really think they are just making movies and games. This makes the learning experience much more fun and interactive. Alice has been downloaded over a million times, and it is still expanding and improving. Wow!

Lastly, Randy talks about lessons learned. He puts a great emphasis on the influence of parents, peers and mentors as great sources for learning lessons. He supplements these points by telling about important people that he learned from. Randy tells us that his dad and mom truly inspired him. His dad fought in WWII and even won the Bronze Star for bravery during The Battle of the Bulge. However, his family did not even know this until after he died. His mom was always there for him and gave him wise advice. It isn't hard to see why Randy turned out to be so successful. After that he tells about Andy Van Dam, who was one of his lifelong mentors. Andy actually convinced him to go to graduate school and become a professor. He then briefly mentioned many of his other mentors and close friends who have accomplished great things in life. He proposed the question, "How do you get others to help you?" His answer was simple - tell the truth, be earnest, apologize when you screw up, and focus on others instead of yourself. Sounds easy enough! He ends by giving many valuable lessons, the final one being, "Lead a good life. If you are good throughout your life, the dreams will come to you."

I did watch the entire video, and I can honestly say that I would enjoy watching it again. He is truly an inspiring man, and a lot of lessons can be learned from him. It is regrettable that he had gotten cancer and died because I'm sure he would have went on to accomplish even more great things in his life. He exemplifies the fact that a good support system can do wonders in helping a person lead a very successful and great life.


  1. Zack,

    Haha! I watch this video every single semester and get re-inspired every single time! You mentioned the question Pausch brought up in which he asked, "How can I enable the childhood dreams of others?" Do you plan on using the philosophy in your own future classroom? And if so, how?

    Also, I can definitely tell that you watched the ENTIIIIIIRE video!

    Awesome job!

    - Allie

  2. Yes, I did watch the ENTIIIIIIRE video! haha

    I would like to use this philosophy in my classroom of course, but how will I do this? I'm not so sure. I'm definitely going to have to think about that one. Good question, Allie!