6 years ago tomorrow, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University gave a lecture that managed to inspire literally millions of people. This talk was titled “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams” or more commonly “The Last Lecture”. If you haven’t seen it, you can find it on CMU’s website: http://www.cmu.edu/randyslecture/
While the background story that goes along with the lecture is gripping in itself, Randy Pausch does an excellent job of incorporating digital media into his presentation to keep it light-hearted, engaging, informative, and enjoyable. I recently re-watched the presentation out of nostalgia, but as I watched, I continued to be amazed at how seamlessly Pausch incorporated videos and other audience interaction into a simple lecture. More importantly, in less than an hour and a half, Pausch was able to do what every professor should strive for. He was inspiring. He inspired me.
It’s the first time that I have watched the lecture (or read the book) in about 5 years, and watching it now, I realize that this man managed to teach me life lessons while also slightly changing the course of my life. I’m now working in Human Factors and my area of interest is Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), a field that definitely intersects with what Pausch discussed in his lecture. I didn’t realize it immediately after watching it, but what he showed in that presentation actually did influence me to be more interested in HCI and related fields. Even now, watching his lecture makes me excited to keep studying and to eventually work in my field.
Have you seen “The Last Lecture”? What were your thoughts on it? Have you watched another presentation that you found to be enriching, exciting, and enlightening?