Jeremy Duff, first of Last Lecture Series

Jeremy Duff, associate professor of political science, was the chosen teacher for the Last Lecture Series held in Legacy Multipurpose Hall Nov. 7. Photo by Marissa Daley

The first speaker for the Last Lecture Series, Jeremy Duff, spoke to about 30 students on the two significant things he’s learned so far in life on Nov. 7 in the Legacy Multipurpose Room. This lecture is the first of three lectures given throughout the year.

The Last Lecture series inspired by a lecture given by Randy Pausch  at Carnegie Mellon University in 2008, before his death.

Steve Hilton, the organizer of the series, asks professors to think deeply of what matters to them and give a hypothetical final talk, inspired by wisdom that MSU professors can give as if it was their last lecture.

“For the two really significant things that I’ve learned in life so far one is find a purpose in something that outlives this life and two is don’t not let things steal your joy,” Duff said.

Nominated by a student, Steve Hilton, resident assistants and professors chose Duff as the first speaker of the three lecture series.

“Those two things, particularly the one about stealing your joy, is something that I’ve always cared about,” Duff said. “I see people that let things do that to them and they end up being unhappy people.”

Before getting to his two significant life lessons, Duff began his lecture with topics every college student should address. Don’t be a horrible student, exercise, find a hobby, learn to cook and be hard on your opinions.

“I am one of those people that when they ask what my hobby is, I say I don’t know,” Haley Dutchover, physical therapy freshman, said. “It teaches you that you need to dig deep and find something that you really like, and then pursue that because that’s what you can go to for stress relief.”

Duff was a student and professor at seven different colleges and universities. He has been at Midwestern for nine years.

“That number took me aback when I thought about it the first time,” Duff said.

His topics at the beginning of his speech were things he noticed from being in college himself.

“For me, having a hobby that I like to do, and enjoy, is really valuable. Sometimes you need to get out of your house and relax,” Duff said. “You’re going to graduate and you’re going to look back and wish you had gotten to do more stuff than just going to class.”

Duff also spoke on his “fantastic fabulous “F” words.” Those being Friends, family and faith, because those are the things that Duff finds his joy and purpose.

“Dr. Duff had some really good points throughout the whole lecture, but the point that stuck with me the most was finding faith,” Maggie Smith, kinesiology freshman, said. “It’s really hard to do in college and some kids stray away, but finding faith would probably be something to hold onto and that’s important.”

Duff said he believes that everyone he has met has a void in their life because they are searching for a purpose. His lecture went over good voids and bad voids to fill your life with.

“I believe everyone has a purpose and the desire to find that purpose, and that leaves a void in peoples lives,” Duff said.

Duff sees himself as genuinely not an unhappy person, and that it’s important to try and not focus on things that make you unhappy or take your joy away.

“It’s important that you try to focus on things that don’t do that,” Duff said.  “Being able to focus on things that bring you joy and not just dwelling on things that take it away is something that people have to learn how to do, and I think that’s really important because at the end of the day you don’t want to go through life miserable.”

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