Blog Post 8: An Undergraduates Thoughts On Randy Pausch’ “Last Lecture”

The story of Randy Pausch is a sad one, but filled with hope and perseverance. He sheds a great light on the differing choices that you can make during your life, and how important those choices are. During struggle and hardship, he never gave up and remained positive. He left a beautiful legacy for others and for his children that is extremely inspirational and life changing. There are many things that we can learn from his speech about both learning and teaching. I look forward to applying many of the principles in the video to my own life and career, as well as encouraging others to do the same.

First off, there is so much in the video that we can apply to our own learning. As Randy Pausch stated in the lecture, “Experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want“.  Therefore, even if one fails, they have still gained. What an important statement! Failure, in so many regards, is a learning opportunity. You can learn about your weaknesses. You can see places within yourself that you need to improve upon. I believe that it would be life changing for students to realize that failure is not and never will be the end of a road.


If one thing doesn’t work out… there are always different avenues. However, there is so much knowledge that can be gained along the way. We can also learn to never rule anything out. We can prioritize what is truly important to each of us in our lives. We also learn when we succeed and when we discover our strengths.

Second, as a teacher, there is much we can learn from Randy Pausch to apply to our own teaching methods. For starters, he never gave up on any of his students. He viewed them all as capable people with great potential. He avoided putting a cap or a ceiling on his expectations from them. and made them feel good about the hard work they put into something. This is such an important lesson for educators to apply to their own classrooms.  I would never want a student to feel that I didn’t believe in them, especially when there are so many children out there who may not have anyone to believe in them at home or otherwise. You never know the impact you could be having in someones life. His belief in holding onto childhood dreams is something that educators can foster into their own classrooms. High school will of course be the last stop before college, and many students will likely be confused and scared about what the future may hold. Why not encourage them to achieve everything they truly want out of their lives or their educations?

Another quote I thought was very eye opening was when Randy Pausch said, “When you screw up and nobody is saying anything to you anymore, that means they gave up.” Wow. This can apply to both teaching and learning! This can teach us to accept well meaning criticisms in our own lives, as well as to dish out constructive criticisms to our students. Many people feel attacked when someone points something out about them in a less than positive light. I feel that if encouraging words were coupled with criticisms, they would be much more palatable.

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