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The Last Lecture

Last week I had to spend the majority of a night in the hospital (I have a lot of food allergies and sometimes have to take an EpiPen). This gave me with about four hours of open time and I only really had time to grab a book out of my room before I left. The book I picked up was The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. The first time I read this book was during my freshman or sophomore year of college. Randy Pausch was a gifted computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University who was diagnosed Pancreatic cancer in 2006. He passed away in 2008, but before his death he gave an inspiring “last lecture” at CMU that went viral on the internet. This talk is entitled “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams.” You can watch it here (I really recommend watching it. It’s a great lecture!).

I purchased the book after having seen the lecture on YouTube. Obviously, Pausch’s lecture made an impression on me. His ability to “keep having fun” in the face of terminal cancer is amazing.  I have trouble having fun and being happy without such serious obstacles. It’s stories like this that really push me to change the way I think.

When I first saw the lecture I intended to take a lot of the advice that he gives about achieving your dreams. Somewhere a long the line this intention got lost, which makes me all the more excited about grabbing this book as I was heading out the door.

Some of his advice is really practical and he gives great antidotes to illustrate why he feels certain things are very important. I have followed some of his recommendations (even before I read his book I might add!). For example, No Job is Beneath You. This is a sentiment that my family engrained in me from birth.

Other things like Be the First Penguin (experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted) I have not been exceptionally good at. I am so happy I have been reminded of Randy Pausch! I now have now renewed my intention to follow his advice ( and so I have a lot of thank-you notes to send!).

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