5 Things We Can Learn from Marina Keegan.

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In life, we all come across that one book. Its words stain your mind and ultimately changes your point of view. The Opposite of Loneliness is one such book. It is a collection of essays and stories written by twenty-two-year-old Marina Keegan. Marina Keegan died, a week after she graduated magna cum laude from Yale. The tragic way in which she died is the least important thing in the entire book. Most important are the stories she left behind, particularly her non-fiction. She was exceptional and not just in the eyes of her readers.


  1. Do what you want.

Marina wanted to be a writer. A few hours after she was told that it’s virtually impossible to make it as a writer, she arrived late to her spoken-word poetry group at Yale. She announced “I’ve decided I’m going to be a writer. Like, a real one. With my life.” There’s something refreshing about someone that young going after a job that won’t make money. If your dream job doesn’t come with a six-figure salary, I think Marina’s advice would be to take it anyway. You can stick it to ‘The Man’ and have a great time while doing so.


  1. It’s okay to realise that you’re young.

A teacher, who was close with Marina said, “Marina was twenty-one and sounded twenty-one, a brainy twenty-one, a twenty-one who knew her way around the English language, a twenty-one who understood that there were few better subjects than being young and uncertain and starry-eyed and frustrated and hopeful.” I believe there is this misconception that to impress people, one must act older however this is what being young is all about: being young.


  1. Never give up.

Marina took part in a regatta (a sailing race) and her initial goal had been to win. This changed once she encountered forty-knot winds and three foot waves. The junior division and all the women had dropped out. Marina stayed, her new goal being to finish. She capsized more times than anyone could count. In perfect conditions, the race would’ve taken fifteen minutes. It took her almost an hour. She came in second last, to incredulous applause. She was soaked, her hair bedraggled and her hands bloody from holding onto the lines.


  1. Allow yourself to identify with the rest of ISZL.

“It’s not quite love and it’s not quite community; it’s just this feeling that there are people, an abundance of people, who are in this together.” As a student body, we are in this together. The tiny circles we’ve pulled around ourselves don’t allow us to realise that ‘making it’ is a team effort. So, take advantage of being surrounded by a multitude of individuals, all with different visions of the future. You might just enjoy it.


  1. Your hardest critic is yourself.

“Nobody wakes up when they want to. Nobody did all of their reading…” We have these impossibly high standards. We’ll never live up to our perfect fantasies of our future selves. I think that’s okay. We’re in high school for crying out loud. We’re young. We’re so so young. Take it easy.



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