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ATO brothers balance academics, athletics, Greek life

Barry McNamara
12/17/2019
Seth Andersen '21 (left) and Kyle Jones '22.
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MONMOUTH, Ill. – Many of Monmouth College’s most successful students not only have impressive academic credentials, but they also have a substantial list of activities outside the classroom.

That is certainly the case for Seth Andersen ’21 of Galesburg, Ill., and Kyle Jones ’22 of Parkland, Fla. Both are majoring in business administration and economics and are active members of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. Additionally, they are successful Fighting Scots athletes.

Competing on Monmouth’s track team, Andersen has earned Midwest Conference titles in the high jump, long jump and triple jump. Jones holds the career record for goalie saves on the men’s water polo team and is also a steady contributor on the Scots’ strong swim team.

Time management 101

Andersen and Jones agreed that time management is the key to balancing their schedules so they can enjoy all the advantages that Monmouth has to offer.

“Staying organized is really important,” said Jones. “It takes a lot of organization to do this. I keep little notes around my room and on my phone. If I hear anything or think of anything, I write it down. Communication is also important, making sure everyone knows what you’re doing. Communication and organization have helped me out a lot.”

The water polo team regularly competes in Pennsylvania, which means a lot of 12-hour bus rides. Jones uses that time as wisely as he can, making sure he has his assignments in advance and then getting schoolwork done on the bus and in the team’s hotel.

Andersen also has a taxing travel schedule, as his indoor and outdoor track commitments keep him off campus for the majority of Saturdays throughout the spring semester.

“I didn’t really master time management until the second semester of my sophomore year,” said Andersen. “Going into the spring is hard, but I handled it better my sophomore year by writing stuff down or having it on my phone. It helped me tremendously.”

Like Jones, Andersen said it’s important to let other people, such as his fraternity brothers, know about his schedule.

“Just be transparent with the other guys in the fraternity,” he said. “I might feel burnt out, but one of the cool things is that everyone is very understanding of how you might be feeling. It’s really all about finding that balance, which takes practice.”

Andersen knows the balancing act he’s doing now will only help him in the future.

“Forming the habits now is the biggest thing,” he said. “After a while, you just get into a rhythm as far as what time of day is best for you to do certain things like study or work out. I like to wake up early and focus on academics right away while my mind is still fresh.”

Andersen believes that working through the time management process will give him a leg up beyond Monmouth.

“This will all carry over after college and help me for the rest of my life,” he said. “The time management I’m learning now is a key to success in the professional world. I see this experience as a big investment in my future.”

Saving time for Greek life

Both students see Greek life as an important part of their Monmouth College experience.

“I knew I wanted to join Greek life when I came here,” said Jones, who spent his first semester adjusting to college before joining ATO in the spring. “They brought me to the house, and I got a strong feel for what the guys were all about. What I didn’t know is that I’d be as active as I’ve been right from the start.”

Jones has had leadership roles on the social and philanthropy sides, and he hopes to take that even further into an executive role, “helping to manage the brothers and help them with their success. I’d like to help build up the image of our chapter even more.”

Andersen was introduced to ATO by another Galesburg High alum, Joe Stewart ’20, and he appreciated the opportunity to quickly have a group of friends.

“It was really great to meet a lot of new people and have that instant support group,” he said. “It was definitely part of my transition of settling in to college.”

Andersen has also had leadership roles, serving as secretary and recruitment chair.

“If you honestly can’t fit it all in, you have to make priorities,” said Andersen. “But for me, I enjoy being involved in athletics, academics AND Greek life.”