In the Last Lecture Series, professors answer the question “if this were your last lecture, what wisdom would you impart to the world.” This year, Notre Dame students nominated professors whom they wanted to hear speak, and Professor Seelinger, a Mechanical Engineering professor, was one of the three professors chosen.

Professor Seelinger teaches all mechanical engineering (MechE) majors during both semesters of their sophmore year. He is beloved for his actual care for his students and for making his courses fun. For example, each class has a theme which usually develops during the year. My year was cheetos…don’t ask why… but Chester Cheetah showed up in exam problems. Also, Seelinger likes humorous extra credit… and I like ALL extra credit, so I was a big fan as well.

Check out Direction #6.
You totally would have missed out on the extra credit. Go back and read Direction #6.

Another thing that makes Professor Seelinger’s classes so special is his storytimes. When you walk into lecture and see the stool sitting out in the front of the room, you know it is going to be a good day. On these days, we don’t do mechanical engineering. Instead, we have storytime, during which Professor Seelinger sits on his stool and gives us a parable (a personal story teaching us life lessons or study habits).

So this past Tuesday, I, along with basically all the other MechEs, went to listen to Seelinger’s Last Lecture. It was wonderful, as expected. He brought back storytime, and sat on a stool in front of the auditorium, and gave 4 themes of wisdom, each with two personal stories to demonstrate the theme:

  1. Learn from/ make the most out of suffering.
  2. Have deep conversations with your friends.
  3. Serve others through your work/passions.
  4. Learn others’ languages of love.

Then, he guaranteed that doing these 4 things would make you a better, happier person and backed up this guarantee by showing how each theme connected to a teaching of the Catholic faith.

Now when I was telling my roommate, Z, about Seelinger’s lecture and mentioned the point about languages of love, she showed my this quiz. Everyone should take this quiz. It perfectly exemplified Theme 4: Learn others’ languages of love.

How does it work, you ask? Basically, you answer multiple choice questions about what type of another’s words or actions make you feel loved. Then based on your answers, it ranks you 1-12 (12 being the highest tendency) for each of the 5 types of love. It is also kinda long and takes a while, so you can finish reading this first.

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Here is a quick summary of one of the Seelinger’s stories explaining “learning others’ languages of love”:

When Professor Seelinger was in college, some of his friends went to his house in Florida for spring break. When break was over and his friends went home, his mom was overly-excited about his friends. For some reason, she really, really liked them, and he began to wonder what made them that much better than his other friends.

Seelinger: “Why were my friends so special?”

Mama Seelinger: “Because they made their beds.”

Seelinger: “??????”

Mama Seelinger: “It made me feel loved.”

Which brings us back to the 5 Languages of Love. Professor Seelinger’s mom feels loved when people do acts of service for her.  She really appreciated his friends making their own beds so she didn’t have to. It made her feel loved.

My 5 Languages of Love quiz results showed that I, too, favor Acts of Service as my top language of love. And the type of love that was my least tendency towards… Physical Touch (real shocker there haha). Plus if you explore on the website (aka click the Profiles tab and then Apology), you can find out your Apology Language! YAY QUIZZES! My apology profile was spot-on:

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Seriously, just tell me you are sorry and you were wrong and then move on.

A Last Lecture Side Story: Z went to the Last Lecture of a philosophy professor the following night, and when I asked her what his main points of wisdom were, she said, “Katie, not everyone is a mechanical engineer and explicitly defines 4 main points each with 2 sub-stories underneath. He just talked about a lot of things.” This is why I am a mechanical engineer.