A Life's Promise, Tragically Broken

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Marina Keegan had just graduated from Yale University with a degree in English and was headed off to a job at The New Yorker. On May 26, she died in a car crash near her family's summer home in Massachusetts.

The 22-year-old was an aspiring writer whose work had already drawn national attention. An article she wrote for a Yale student publication about the increasing number of her peers who were entering careers in consulting and finance was adapted for publication in The New York Times. She spoke to NPR about the piece earlier this year.

Yet her most widely circulated work — one that's been shared by hundreds of thousands of people on the Internet in the week after her death — is an essay she wrote for a special edition the Yale Daily News handed out at commencement five days before she died.

In the piece, titled "The Opposite of Loneliness," Keegan wrote about the feeling of fellowship and purpose she found at Yale and told her classmates they shouldn't lose that feeling just because they were graduating.

"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."

Just months before her death, she shared the same enthusiasm with WSHU's Craig LeMoult for NPR's report.

"I'm just reminded every day how lucky I am just to be surrounded by such smart, interesting, passionate people," Keegan told him. "And one of the things that I've loved about being at Yale is just how enthusiastic people are about everything that they do."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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