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Aaron O’Neill ’21

What drew you to Lake Forest College?
The commitment to creating a high-level learning environment really drew me to the college. From an athlete’s perspective that’s not something you see everywhere, but that really stood out to me on my visit. In order to create that you have to have everyone from coaches, to admissions personnel, to faculty on the same page and I believe Lake Forest does a great job of providing multiple levels of support to students. The high-level faculty we have at our school is a big part of why everything works so well here.

Have you had experiences here—besides your classes—that have helped prepare you for your future?
I have been fortunate to have many professional experiences here through the organizations I am involved in. The two that come to mind off the top are Gummere Fellows and hockey.

Through Gummere Fellows I have had the opportunity to serve as a resource for alumni and prospective students and that provides an opportunity for different interactions than you might otherwise experience in everyday campus life. Being able to have those high level discussions has allowed me to develop skills that will be useful no matter where I end up.

Through hockey I have been fortunate enough to be a part of our leadership group which has taught me how to represent two groups simultaneously. I have to think about what is in the best interest of our players as well as consider the message our couch is trying to get across. I have been fortunate enough to work with a very supportive coach and teammates who make my job seem less.

Finally, I would be remiss not to cite interactions with my professors as a great learning opportunity. As frustrating as it can be to have them question why you’re doing something, they do so in order to help us fully understand the ideas we are presenting and that is an invaluable skill in the working world.

How are you handling the sudden change and transition to online learning?
It has been an adjustment for sure, but I think our faculty and administration have handled it gracefully. The biggest thing for me has been to try and understand that faculty are adjusting just as much as we are and there has to be some give on both sides for it to be successful and by all accounts that has occurred. While it hasn’t been ideal and many of us have missed out on some experiences, it helps to understand that everything is out of our control and there are families who are suffering through much more dire situations.

What do you do in your free time (before the COVID-19 pandemic)?
Our team was extremely close this year, so I spend a lot of time with them when I don’t have other things going on. I also enjoy anything competitive, if you have a basketball, or football or anything like that, I’ll most likely be in the middle of it.

What are your plans after graduation?
As of now my plan is to attend law school following graduation. I will be studying for the LSAT this summer and hopefully taking the test in late August. I have aspirations of moving to Phoenix, AZ for school but we shall see what happens in the coming months.

Any advice for new Foresters?
Don’t be afraid to get involved in organizations that interest you. Don’t put too much on your plate, but Lake Forest is a small school where it is easy to be involved and stand out. Spread yourself out a little bit and find ways to contribute something that will be memorable.

What has been your favorite memory at Lake Forest College?
It had to be this year when we swept St. Norbert at there rink early this season. I don’t think they had been swept at home in over 30 years and that was a pretty special moment for our team.

Parting words?
I just want to thank everyone who I have been involved with regardless of how close or far apart we were. You have all helped contribute to my great college experience and I appreciate all your support. I want to send a special thank you to all the teammates I’ve had since I’ve been here, Coach Kelliher and Coach O’Malley, Professor Lemke, Professor Levis, Spike Gummere, Mike, Rich, and McKenna, Jackie Slaats. Thank you all for the opportunities you’ve given me and for contributing to some of my favorite memories since I’ve been here.