Alumni Profile

Mickey O'Neill

Teacher, English and Creative Writing at a vocational college in Malaysia

What did you appreciate most about your SMC experience?

The word that immediately comes to mind is community. That seems like just another abstract and immeasurable concept that you read about in brochures, but at Saint Mike's the community is palpable. It's a feeling that everyone is rooting from you, from your professors, to your classmates, and the staff who become your close friends. Saint Mike's really is a family--that's a sentiment that seems to be repeated at many institutions, but the reality is that what Saint Mike's has is rarely replicated elsewhere.

What are you doing now?

I am currently living in Malaysia under a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant grant, teaching English and creative writing at a vocational college.

How do you apply what you learned at SMC to your professional life?

My professors imbued in me a sense that education isn't limited to the confines of a classroom, and that it doesn't have to be a stuffy operation. I draw from their example every day as a teacher--whether it's pulling creative workshop ideas from Will Marquess, encouraging students to apply their passion for social justice pragmatically as Trish Siplon models, or knowing that learning happens organically when silliness is appreciated as part of the process, which Carey Kaplan and Nat Lewis shared with us.

What did you like about SMC's location? Have you returned to campus?

You just can't beat Vermont. I always show my Malaysian students and colleagues pictures of Vermont, and they are invariably floored by its beauty. A few have asked me, "Is that even a real place?" Somehow, magically, yes.

What advice would you give new SMC students?

Dive into everything. There are so many opportunities for exploration at Saint Mike's, and you should try to experience as many as possible. This is a time in your life where you can try everything on for size, and you should--in the future, you might regret not daring to go on that weekend ice climbing trip, applying for a summer research grant, or submitting your work to the Onion River Review!

Learn What Matters