There’s a piece circling around my social media feeds from, of all places, Yale’s student newspaper. It’s called “The Opposite of Loneliness” and it centers on a sort of carpe diem call to enjoy life after graduation, musing over leaving Yale’s particular social circles, wondering if college really is the best time of our lives, pondering if we’ve made all the right choices in our lives up until this point. To be truthful, I don’t think it’s the most engaging piece of writing I’ve ever read — the prose isn’t the snappiest, the conclusions the most perspicacious, the message the most novel. But don’t get me wrong, it’s good. And above all, it’s honest. It captures and encapsulates my feelings about graduation and closing this chapter of my life almost impeccably.
For that, it is the perfect graduation piece: writing that is bursting with love for the place you’ve just spent the most formative four years of your life, a jumble of words and images and in-jokes and meditations that attempt, in vain, to truly describe the scope of moving on from college, class, friends, neighbors. The perfect graduation piece, in my mind, is never perfect writing. There’s too much of a sense of wonder and disbelief and curiosity to wrap everything up nicely.
That alone — that I was able to get a sense of how wondrous this “Yale” place is, without ever having set foot on the campus (though maybe I’m impressing my own college memories upon it?) — makes the piece impressive. But “The Opposite of Loneliness” is notable, and is being circulated, for a different reason: it was written by Marina Keegan.
Marina Keegan, a twenty-two-year-old fresh Yale graduate, died on Saturday, May 26 in a car accident.
“We’re so young,” she wrote:
We’re so young. We’re twenty-two years old. We have so much time.
Yes, Marina, yes we are and yes we do. Thank you for reminding me.