October 2, 2012
Evaluation of Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams
Randy Pausch was a computer science professor who taught at Carnegie Mellon University. On September 18, 2007, a few months before he lost his battle with cancer, Pausch delivered a speech entitled Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams to an audience of around four hundred people. One can appropriately evaluate the effectiveness of Pausch’s last presentation by examining the seven key elements of communication.
“Know thy self” is the first key element of communication which states that communication is personal. The part of Pausch’s lecture that affected me most deeply on a personal level was in the beginning when he talked about his childhood dreams. He shared with the audience about how, as a child, he dreamed of experiencing zero gravity, playing in the NFL, and becoming a Disney Imagineer. Thinking about Pausch’s childhood dreams made me reflect on some of my own that I thought I had forgotten about. I used to want to be a famous comedian who traveled the world on a cruise ship providing entertainment for vacationers. Although he did not make it to the NFL, Pausch says to this day he is most in his element when he is on a football field. Like Pausch, I am most comfortable when I am making my friends laugh.
The second key element of communication is “connect with others.” Pausch’s presentation definitely addressed the need to connect with others on a level of respect and understanding. In the beginning of his lecture Pausch addressed the “elephant in the room” by speaking briefly about his current health situation and his battle with cancer. However afterwards he made it a point to say that he was not going to be talking anymore about cancer or about religion and his “deathbed conversion.” Instead, Pausch’s speech focused on aspects of his life that his audience could relate to; like his dreams growing up, his family, applying for...