The Last Lecture

After I finished the 4 week teaching gig in Hastings last week, I got this awesome card off the kids saying thank you. That was great.

What was even more surprising than that was a card and a book off my monitor. Every teacher has a monitor who takes the kids to town and on trips with you, and helps you out with photocopying and stuff like that.  As the jobs kind of badly organised and directed, your monitor is the person who helps you understand how this crazy school works.

Anyways this book he gave me was a first edition, hardback copy of The Last Lecture by Randy Pursue.  It’s been a while since i read a book like this. I’ve been trying to re-read Jack Kerouc

I sat down and, although I haven’t finished the whole thing yet, I have read 3/4 of it and understand what it’s trying to say.

The book got me thinking.

What childhood dreams/hopes/ambitions have i genuinely wanted and out of them – how many have I achieved?

so here is a few:

  • For about 12 years all I ever wanted to be was an animator for Disney. I’m not sure why I changed my direction to more contemporary art/architecture.  Did I ever achieve it? No.  Will I ever achieve it? Probably not. But that direction made me a skillful drawer.
  • To live in NYC. My mom worked (and still does) long and many jobs to put food on the table. As a result I spent alot of time with the TV and Films. And brainwashed myself from a veryyyyy young girl that NYC is the place to be, regardless. I genuine feel like I was born in the wrong place.  But, I have actually done this, I have lived in nYC. for a few months. worked and lived in an apartment in Brooklyn. Sounds awesome right? I’d love to do it again. For a longer period. Like 5 years at least. I felt so happy and content there.
  • To write for a magazine.  Well I’m working really hard on this, and i have a sneaking suspicion that I’m not a very good writer… but nevertheless… I’m working hard and have had a few things printed in magazines.
  • which leads me on to my next ambition. I always wanted to be in a real published book. Now. The books that my work has been are very small publishing deals – not really the real deal. But it’s beeen VERY Cool. and it’s not too bad – I’m still just 21.
  • i’ve ALWAYS wanted to work in film  whether that be behind in production or infront of the camera as an actress… this hasn’t happened.
  • In the acting/performing side of things I have finally pursued one area of it which mixes my other childhood dream of becoming a rapstar. And that’s a slam poet. Now, albiet, not an amazing slam poet – i’m still coming into myself BUT i’ve performed and even set up my own night in sheffield dedicated to the artform. This is close enough for being a rap star.
  • I always wanted to be a teacher and to be told that I’ve made a difference and that they’ll never forget me (i know the latter of that sentence is pretty genuine as i’ve used it a few times and you dont say it if you dont mean it… because there is no need to say it!)  and that happened with the Hastings job. That was my proudest moment! as a teacher. I’d love to have that feeling again.
  • To have my own art gallery…. i helped CAKE collective set CAKE up and did the website: http://www.cakeartspace.co.uk
  • to work in an awesome gallery. I worked at Postmasters Gallery, NYC and it is easily one of the bestest things in my whole entire life. its an opportunity that will stay with me for the rest of my life.
  • To hitch-hike. I did this in the south of USA. Across the border of Mexico and on! awesome. I’d do it again. I’d love to do the cross country thing again!!!!
  • To get a degree….. although I’m not graduated yet – i never thought that i’d get to university to do art. never in a million years. and now i’m a masters student. amazing.
  • to be as famous as damien hirst in the artworld….. hmmmm that hasn’t happened yet. I dont think it will but you never know eh!?

There are more but they’re the ones that spring to mind straight away.  I can still see there’s lots to work with!

But I’m truly grateful for my life and where I can take it. debt, death, and bad relationships along the way.  How many dreams/ambitions have you achieved so far?

ABout THE LAST LECTURE

Randolph Frederick Pausch (October 23, 1960 – July 25, 2008) was an American professor of computer science, human-computer interaction and design at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Pausch received his bachelor’s degree in computer science from Brown University in 1982 and his PhD in computer science from Carnegie Mellon in August 1988. Pausch later became an associate professor at the University of Virginia, before working at Carnegie Mellon as an associate professor.

He gave his “The Last Lecture” speech on September 18, 2007 at Carnegie Mellon. Pausch conceived the lecture after he learned that his previously known pancreatic cancer was terminal. The talk was modeled after an ongoing series of lectures where top academics are asked to think deeply about what matters to them, and then give a hypothetical “final talk”, with a topic such as “what wisdom would you try to impart to the world if you knew it was your last chance?” The talk was later released as a book called The Last Lecture, which became a New York Times best-seller.

Pausch was an assistant and associate professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Virginia’s School of Engineering and Applied Science from 1988 until 1997. While there, he completed sabbaticals at Walt Disney Imagineering and Electronic Arts (EA). In 1997, Pausch became Associate Professor of Computer Science, Human-Computer Interaction, and Design, at Carnegie Mellon University. He was a co-founder in 1998, along with Don Marinelli, of CMU’s Entertainment Technology Center (ETC), and he started the Building Virtual Worlds course at CMU and taught it for 10 years. He consulted with Google on user interface design and also consulted with PARC, Imagineering, and Media Metrix. Pausch is also the founder of the Alice software project.

He was a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator and a Lilly Foundation Teaching Fellow. Pausch was the author or co-author of five books and over 70 articles. He also received two awards from ACM in 2007 for his achievements in computing education: the Karl V. Karlstrom Outstanding Educator Award and the ACM Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education Award for Outstanding Contributions to Computer Science Education. He was also inducted as a Fellow of the ACM in 2007. The Pittsburgh City Council declared November 19, 2007 to be “Dr. Randy Pausch Day”. In May 2008, Pausch was listed by Time as one of the World’s Top-100 Most Influential People.

Pausch was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and underwent a Whipple procedure (pancreaticoduodenectomy) on September 19, 2006 in an unsuccessful attempt to halt his pancreatic cancer. He was told in August 2007 to expect a remaining three to six months of good health. He soon moved his family to Chesapeake, Virginia, a suburb near Norfolk, to be close to his wife’s family. On March 13, 2008, Pausch advocated for greater federal funding for pancreatic cancer before the United States Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies. In the week prior to this, he had been hospitalized in order to have needle aspiration of pleural effusion in his right lung.

On May 2, a Positron emission tomography (PET) scan showed that he had very tiny (5 millimetres (0.20 in) or less) metastasis in his lungs and some lymph nodes in his chest. He also had some metastases in his peritoneal and retroperitoneal cavities. On June 26, 2008, Pausch indicated that he was considering stopping further chemotherapy because of the potential adverse side effects. He was, however, considering some immuno-therapy-based approaches. On July 24, on behalf of Pausch, a friend anonymously posted a message on Pausch’s webpage stating that a biopsy had indicated that the cancer had progressed further than what was expected from recent PET scans and that Pausch had “taken a step down” and was “much sicker than he had been”. The friend also stated that Pausch had then enrolled in a hospice program designed to provide palliative care to those at the end of life.

Pausch died from pancreatic cancer at his family’s home in Chesapeake, Virginia on July 25, 2008, having moved there so that his wife and children would be near family after his death. He is survived by his wife Jai, and their three children, Dylan, Logan and Chloe.

REALLY ACHIEVING YOUR CHILDHOOD DREAMS

Pausch delivered his “Last Lecture”, titled Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams, at CMU on September 18, 2007. Randy Pausch gave an abridged version of his speech on the Oprah show in October 2007. The talk was modeled after an ongoing series of lectures where top academics are asked to think deeply about what matters to them, and then give a hypothetical “final talk”, with a topic such as “what wisdom would you try to impart to the world if you knew it was your last chance?” Before speaking, Pausch received a long standing ovation from a large crowd of over 400 colleagues and students. When he motioned them to sit down, saying, “Make me earn it,” someone in the audience shouted back, “You did!”

During the lecture, Pausch was upbeat and humorous, alternating between wisecracks, insights on computer science and engineering education, advice on building multi-disciplinary collaborations, working in groups and interacting with other people, offering inspirational life lessons, and performing push-ups on stage. He also commented on the irony that the “Last Lecture” series had recently been renamed as “Journeys”, saying, “I thought, damn, I finally nailed the venue and they renamed it.” After Pausch finished his lecture, Steve Seabolt, on behalf of Electronic Arts—which is now collaborating with CMU in the development of Alice 3.0—pledged to honor Pausch by creating a memorial scholarship for women in computer science, in recognition of Pausch’s support and mentoring of women in CS and engineering.

CMU president Jared Cohon spoke emotionally of Pausch’s humanity and called his contributions to the university and to education “remarkable and stunning”. He then announced that CMU will celebrate Pausch’s impact on the world by building and naming after Pausch a raised pedestrian bridge to connect CMU’s new Computer Science building and the Center for the Arts, symbolizing the way Pausch linked those two disciplines. Brown University professor Andries van Dam followed Pausch’s last lecture with a tearful and impassioned speech praising him for his courage and leadership, calling him a role model.

THE LAST LECTURE

The Disney-owned publisher Hyperion paid $6.7 million for the rights to publish a book about Pausch called The Last Lecture, co-authored by Pausch and Wall Street Journal reporter Jeff Zaslow. The book became a New York Times best-seller on June 22, 2008. The Last Lecture expands on Pausch’s speech. The book’s first printing had 400,000 copies, and it has been translated into 17 languages. Despite speculation that the book would be made into a movie, Pausch had denied these rumors, stating that “there’s a reason to do the book, but if it’s telling the story of the lecture in the medium of film, we already have that.”

MEDIA COVERAGE

Pausch was named “Person of the Week” on ABC’s World News with Charles Gibson on September 21, 2007. His “Last Lecture” has attracted wide attention from the international media, became an Internet hit, and was viewed over a million times in the first month after its delivery. On October 22, 2007, Pausch appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show where he discussed his situation and summarized his “Last Lecture”. On October 6, 2007, Pausch joined the Pittsburgh Steelers for the day during their regular practice, after the organization learned that one of his childhood dreams mentioned in his “Last Lecture” was to play in the NFL.

A devoted Star Trek fan, Pausch was invited by film director J. J. Abrams to film a role in the latest Star Trek movie. Abrams heard of Pausch’s condition and sent a personal e-mail inviting Pausch to the set. Pausch accepted and traveled to Los Angeles, California to shoot his scene. In addition to appearing in the film, he also has a line of dialogue and donated the $217.06 paycheck to charity. On April 9, 2008, the ABC network aired an hour long Diane Sawyer feature on Pausch titled “The Last Lecture: A Love Story For Your Life”. On July 29, 2008, ABC aired a follow up to the Last Lecture special, remembering Pausch and his famous lecture.

OTHER LECTURES AND APPEARANCES

Pausch gave a lecture about time management on November 27, 2007 at the University of Virginia, to an audience of over 850 people. In March 2008, Pausch appeared in a public service announcement video and testified before Congress in support of cancer research. On May 18, 2008, Pausch made a surprise return appearance at Carnegie Mellon, giving a speech at the commencement ceremony, as well as attending the School of Computer Science’s diploma ceremony, and on May 19 Pausch appeared on the Good Morning America show. His lecture, “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams”, was nominated at the 2007 YouTube Video Awards.

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