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The Last Lecture Essay Response

1368 words - 6 pages

1. A) The Last Lecture was written for whom? B) Why?
The Last Lecture was written by Randy Pausch as a way to eventually pass on his ideas, story, and beliefs to his young children via video recording after his death due to pancreatic cancer. Pausch hoped to illustrate his life's trajectory coming full circle and to wrap up his academic career as a professor at Carnegie Mellon University.

2. Select and apply a developmental theorist with a theory that is applicable to Randy Pausch’s last year of his life? Please provide examples to support this theory.
Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of needs best supports Randy Pausch's last year. Pausch already met his physiological needs that were ...view middle of the document...

3. Identify at least two or more things that Randy Pausch did on his bucket list (achieving his dreams)?
Randy Pausch was greatly influenced by his parents' love of the encyclopedia and one day hoped to become a contributor for World Book. After some time in his field, Pausch was invited to write an entry on virtual reality. In 1995, Pausch achieved a childhood dream of working as a Disney Imagineer during his sabbatical. He also wanted to ride NASA's zero gravity plane and reached this goal by working as a reporter for a contest his students entered.

4. A) What is the significance of the carnival and winning the stuffed animals? B) Why does Randy give the stuffed animals away?
Winning stuffed animals was a childhood dream of Pausch's. Looking back, he felt that these successes were indicative of his tenacity. Through these experiences he learned that its not always necessary for people to see how hard you work to achieve something. There was also a sentimental value to them as he used a stuffed bear to court his wife. He gave the animals away to the audience at his lecture because he felt they would become a burden on Jai- too sentimental to get rid of, but would also add to clutter and leak styrofoam.

5. Many cancer patients are bombarded with the advice to “be optimistic” or “think positively.” This approach has led to a medical backlash alluded to in the chapter “A Way to Understand Optimism.” Pausch says his surgeon worries about “patients who are inappropriately optimistic or ill-informed”: “It pains him to see patients who are having a tough day healthwise and assume it’s because they weren’t positive enough.” What is Pausch’s view of this? Is he appropriately or inappropriately optimistic? Why?
I believe Pausch was appropriately optimistic about his impending death. Pausch's doctor told him he had a healthy balance between optimism and realism and that he believed Pausch was trying to look at his sickness as a life experience. He got a convertible as well as a vasectomy. He enjoyed the thought of himself beating cancer but knew this mindset was mostly an asset to help him continue to live while he was alive. He chose to live like he was dying as well as to live like he was living. Pausch saw optimism as a mental state that could inspire him to do things to improve his physical state rather than a way to improve his physical state directly.

6. Many people who have heard about The Last Lecture may be tempted to give the book to someone who has had a devastating diagnosis, or who is perhaps dying, hoping it will provide comfort or cheer. A) What would you say to them? B) Is this a book for the living or the dying? C) Indicate why.
I found this book's message to be inspirational for those of us trying to figure out a way to live which resonates with us and to make the best of our time. The book...


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