Last Saturday, only a couple of days after graduating from Yale, Marina Keegan was killed in a car crash.
She was on her way to visit her family in Cape Cod with her boyfriend, another recent grad, who fell asleep at the wheel. He survived.
In the days since her death, her articles for The Yale Daily News have taken social media by storm. In particular, a recent piece written on the eve of graduation has been shared and reposted over a million times and in the days immediately following her death, had more than 400,000 views on The Yale Daily News' website.
Her words encouraged other young graduates to embrace possibility. She wrote:
"What we have to remember is that we can still do anything. We can change our minds. We can start over. Get a post-bac or try writing for the first time. The notion that it’s too late to do anything is comical. It’s hilarious. We’re graduating college. We’re so young. We can’t, we MUST not lose this sense of possibility because in the end, it’s all we have."
One of her other recent pieces for The Yale Daily News and republished in The New York Times, described the mass exodus of Yale grads to finance and consulting industries. Despite the uncertainty that faces many young grads regarding the job market (something we've covered in-depth), Marina urged her classmates to pursue their passions to make a more direct and meaningful impact on society. In honor of her life, a fund has been established to help Yale students find employment in "truly fulfilling careers" rather than bowing to the pressure to take the high-paying finance positions she decried.
I knew Marina from our shared time at Yale, having worked with her on one of the first shows she performed in as an undergrad. Her passion for theater and her sense of humor stood out, and the last time I saw her, earlier this year, I remember her enthusiasm for an indie artist she had just seen in concert.
This summer, she was slated to begin a job at The New Yorker and stage a play she had co-written at The New York Fringe Festival. Given all that she accomplished at such a young age (and I only knew the half of it from our casual acquaintance), it's clear that she truly lived up to her words, seizing the possibility inherent in each day.
Though I hadn't read her work prior to her death, I feel privileged to have been exposed to it now. Her piece on the career decisions facing young Yale grads as well as her graduation piece raise thoughtful and compelling questions that can benefit anyone, regardless of age or life stage.
At LearnVest, we know that your career and the way you manage your money are not solely about getting rich--it's about living your richest life. Much of that centers around how you choose to spend your time, your most valuable asset.
We're choosing to honor Marina for asking so many big questions, despite being so young: What time of career is most meaningful? What do you do each day--either at a job, or outside of it--that gives your life meaning? How can you honor the time you have and live the richest life possible? After reading her writing, take a moment to really think about these questions to help guide yourself through the decisions you make each day about your time.
In addition to donating to the fund described above, Marina's legacy can be kept alive by making donations to the Kickstarter campaign which will enable her play, Independents, to be staged at the Fringe Festival this summer.