[last lecture]

A Beloved Professor Delivers
The Lecture of a Lifetime
September 20, 2007; Page D1
by Jeffrey Zaslow

Randy Pausch, a Carnegie Mellon University computer-science professor, was about to give a lecture Tuesday afternoon, but before he said a word, he received a standing ovation from 400 students and colleagues.He motioned to them to sit down. “Make me earn it,” he said.They had come to see him give what was billed as his “last lecture.” This is a common title for talks on college campuses today. Schools such as Stanford and the University of Alabama have mounted “Last Lecture Series,” in which top professors are asked to think deeply about what matters to them and to give hypothetical final talks. For the audience, the question to be mulled is this: What wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance?

It can be an intriguing hour, watching healthy professors consider their demise and ruminate over subjects dear to them. At the University of Northern Iowa, instructor Penny O’Connor recently titled her lecture “Get Over Yourself.” At Cornell, Ellis Hanson, who teaches a course titled “Desire,” spoke about sex and technology.

At Carnegie Mellon, however, Dr. Pausch’s speech was more than just an academic exercise. The 46-year-old father of three has pancreatic cancer and expects to live for just a few months. His lecture, using images on a giant screen, turned out to be a rollicking and riveting journey through the lessons of his life.

He began by showing his CT scans, revealing 10 tumors on his liver. But after that, he talked about living. If anyone expected him to be morose, he said, “I’m sorry to disappoint you.” He then dropped to the floor and did one-handed pushups.

Randy Pausch and his three children, ages 5, 2 and 1.

Clicking through photos of himself as a boy, he talked about his childhood dreams: to win giant stuffed animals at carnivals, to walk in zero gravity, to design Disney rides, to write a World Book entry. By adulthood, he had achieved each goal. As proof, he had students carry out all the huge stuffed animals he’d won in his life, which he gave to audience members. After all, he doesn’t need them anymore.

He paid tribute to his techie background. “I’ve experienced a deathbed conversion,” he said, smiling. “I just bought a Macintosh.” Flashing his rejection letters on the screen, he talked about setbacks in his career, repeating: “Brick walls are there for a reason. They let us prove how badly we want things.” He encouraged us to be patient with others. “Wait long enough, and people will surprise and impress you.” After showing photos of his childhood bedroom, decorated with mathematical notations he’d drawn on the walls, he said: “If your kids want to paint their bedrooms, as a favor to me, let ’em do it.”

While displaying photos of his bosses and students over the years, he said that helping others fulfill their dreams is even more fun than achieving your own. He talked of requiring his students to create videogames without sex and violence. “You’d be surprised how many 19-year-old boys run out of ideas when you take those possibilities away,” he said, but they all rose to the challenge.

He also saluted his parents, who let him make his childhood bedroom his domain, even if his wall etchings hurt the home’s resale value. He knew his mom was proud of him when he got his Ph.D, he said, despite how she’d introduce him: “This is my son. He’s a doctor, but not the kind who helps people.”

He then spoke about his legacy. Considered one of the nation’s foremost teachers of videogame and virtual-reality technology, he helped develop “Alice,” a Carnegie Mellon software project that allows people to easily create 3-D animations. It had one million downloads in the past year, and usage is expected to soar.

“Like Moses, I get to see the Promised Land, but I don’t get to step foot in it,” Dr. Pausch said. “That’s OK. I will live on in Alice.”

Many people have given last speeches without realizing it. The day before he was killed, Martin Luther King Jr. spoke prophetically: “Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place.” He talked of how he had seen the Promised Land, even though “I may not get there with you.”

Dr. Pausch’s lecture, in the same way, became a call to his colleagues and students to go on without him and do great things. But he was also addressing those closer to his heart.

Near the end of his talk, he had a cake brought out for his wife, whose birthday was the day before. As she cried and they embraced on stage, the audience sang “Happy Birthday,” many wiping away their own tears.

Dr. Pausch’s speech was taped so his children, ages 5, 2 and 1, can watch it when they’re older. His last words in his last lecture were simple: “This was for my kids.” Then those of us in the audience rose for one last standing ovation.


i woke up this morning, picked yesterday’s thursday’s copy of WSJ and read this article. soon i realized that my tears were falling down..maybe i got too emotional..
watch lecture here



it’s been a while since my last post.. lame reasons for not updating : busy + had no idea what to blog about..haha
but seriously, this is by far my busiest semester ever. with HWs piling up, meeting the deadlines, meetings, office hours, other responsibilities..etc..
am looking forward for fall to end. after this no more 16 credits per semester..
we just had Fall Career Fair going on throughout the week. i only attended the actuarial career fair at Business building. i know chances of me getting an internship, given the probability from 0 to 1, i would say 0.05..haha..ke sket sgt tu.. if ade rezeki, insyaAllah dpt..
tp i end up pg jgak the fair..brought a couple of my unimpressive resumes and talk with few ppl..
most of the companies required for us signing up using the Smeal simplicity program. However, the program will automatically reject my ID since i’m a J-1 visa student..huuhu..btw, things i’ve learnt at the fair:-

  • Wear your own suit (we had to dress up, and i dont have one..so pinjamla..and when it doesnt fit well, i’m not comfortable with myself)
  • bring plenty (if possible one for each companies that participate) of resumes
  • ask a lot of questions to keep the conversation going..otherwise..boring je
  • grab all the freebies (sometimes i’m guilty taking the free stuff and not talking to the companies rep. but then, even the organizer provide us with a plastic bag to collect the stuff..so, why not)

after a long, tiring week, yeayy..weekend..
went to Late Night at HUB with my roommate. thought of watching Knocked Up, tp full plak..so we end up doing the creative craft thing..sronok jgak though i’m not creative enough to decorate my box..

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..my ‘artwork’..heheh..

ouh and yes, one of the most anticipated game tomorrow (or should i say in 13 hrs)..the deciding game i guess..haha
#10 Nittany Lions vs. Michigan Wolverines at Ann Arbor..
Penn State never won a game with UMICH since 1996 in 8 meetings..
i’m not sure UMICH will start to play with Chad Henne or Ryan Mallet as QB..i watched some videos masa UMICH vs. fighting Irish.. Ryan Mallet, although freshmen..hebat la jgak..

but hopefully, our defensive line lead by Dan Connor will try to do some miracles esok..we’ll see..

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Top 8 ways to boost your Ramadhan spirit this year:

1. Dua
2. Quiet your mind at least 10 min, turn off the (ie: TV, internet, cell phone, etc)
3. Learn about great Muslim (sirah)
4. Connect to the QURAN
5. Take care of others
6. Feed the hungry
7. Give up ONE Lifelong BAD habit
8. Ready to find Lailatul Qadr

selamat berpuasa and semoga ramadhan tahun ni lebih baik dari sebelumnya, insyaAllah. maafkan segala salah silap.


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my guess is federer will meet djokovic in the US Open final..
watched roddick vs federer the other night..although roddick lost, but indeed roddick played quite well..



found this at Dhirah’s blog..
saje..i’m a bit bored..

Your Brain is 53% Female, 47% Male

Your brain is a healthy mix of male and female
You are both sensitive and savvy
Rational and reasonable, you tend to keep level headed
But you also tend to wear your heart on your sleeve

What Gender Is Your Brain?

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