Sad News

July 27th, 2008

Randy Pausch, 23 Oct 1960–25 Jul 2008
Randy Pausch
23 Oct 1960–25 Jul 2008

It’s a terrible thing when somebody dies, but it’s especially sad when it’s somebody who has the ability to inspire thousands with fantastic advice regarding attitudes towards achieving their personal dreams. I’m talking about Dr. Randy Pausch, a professor of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who recently passed away, surrounded by his family, on the morning of the 25th July 2008.

For those who don’t know of him, Randy was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in August 2006, progressing into a terminal case in August 2007. He was told that he had three to six months of good health left, and despite this, maintained his positive attitude towards life. This was shown in the famous video of The Last Lecture, given back in September 2007, and broadcast on the internet. This lecture quickly gained popularity as a piece of inspiration for anybody who has any kind of aspirations, regardless of how crazy they might be.

I was one month into my first year or university when I saw this, and it reminded me exactly what I was doing there, and why. It spurred me on to do my very best throughout the year, and made me seriously think about where I was actually planning on going in life. It also reminded me of a really important fact. When you run into a brick wall in life, it is there for a reason: To let you prove just how badly you want it. They ensure that the people who achieve their dreams are the ones who have truly earned it. This lecture reinforced my desire to really be somebody who made their life happen, rather than being someone who let life happen to them.

More importantly, it reminded me that having fun whilst living your life is so incredibly important. If you’re not having fun in your life, then it’s time to take control and be that change in your life.

There are a number of lectures given by Randy available on The Legacy of Randy Pausch by Dr Gabriel Robins. I particularly recommend his 2007 Time Management lecture, which provides some brilliant tips for anybody, regardless of their current organisational skill.

So goodbye Randy, I’m sad to say that I never met you, or even spoke to you, but you made a difference in my life, the lives of your students, and hopefully of many others who have watched your lectures online. Your legacy will live on in all of us, as we continue to live our lives with your lessons in mind.

If you have an hour and 44 minutes to spare, I highly suggest that you spend them watching The Last Lecture.

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