There is no doubt that Marley was dead. This must be distinctly understood, or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am going to relate.” –Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
She has always seen flashes of light shooting across the room in the dark – tiny wisps of something-or-other, passing in the night. But it wasn’t until Maureen McGirr was 23 that she saw an actual, human-esque ghostly figure.
“I was sleeping at my boyfriend’s house and woke up in the middle of the night,” Maureen recalls. “I saw a man standing over me in a leather jacket.”
She saw a medium a few months later, who immediately asked, “Do you ever see bright lights shooting across the room?” Maureen’s suspicion that she had a sense for ghosts was further confirmed when the medium asked if she’d seen a spirit recently.
It may come as no surprise that someone who sees things other people don’t is an artist; after all, art is about perception. That said, she didn’t have an early inclination toward any particular career path. While Maureen started taking art classes since she was a 7 year-old back at St. Catherine of Sienna grade school, she was also a big athlete.
She played basketball for many years and loved crew in high school. When her sister suffered a serious accident, Maureen realized that life is short – and she wanted to spend her time doing something she enjoyed.
“I knew I’d never get a job painting or drawing or sculpting,” she says. “Graphic design had reason to it. There were rules – it wasn’t just a bunch of weird concepts.”
College marked the end of Maureen’s athletic pursuits, as she focused her attention on academics and design at Temple’s Tyler School of Art.
Today, she is a graphic designer at Penn Medicine. One nice job perk is working from home on Fridays. This allows the Old City Philadelphia resident and current Fox School of Business grad student to catch up on other aspects of her busy life between emails. She keeps pushing, learning, observing – not just looking ahead to the next chapter in her story, but helping to write it.
Making art or playing sports or seeing ghosts demands elevated awareness. While Maureen says she can be indecisive, her story displays clarity and common sense. Creative yet grounded, she’s both open to new opportunities and measured in her approach.
What lies ahead? She wants to see the world, of course. Maureen regrets not having traveled more. But she’ll definitely be avoiding seafood in her travels.
“It’s disgusting,” she states, unequivocally.
Her current favorite food is the Buffalo Chicken at The Plough & The Stars, an Irish pub in Philadelphia.
“The sauce is so good,” she raves. “There’s something about it – maybe they use pickle juice?”
One thing’s for sure about her next big adventure – she’ll be blasting plenty of Justin Bieber along the way. An unapologetic Belieber, Maureen’s into the musician’s entire catalog. It makes sense, if you think about it. There’s a very precise art to crafting the perfect pop song, after all…plus, it makes her happy.
Life is short. Love yourself.