Senior Dan Asbell of Brimfield is quite all right with Monmouth College’s distinction as a liberal arts school.
A double major in accounting and business, Asbell said that although he has specialized in those subjects, what has made his time at Monmouth special is the opportunity to get involved in a variety of learning activities.
“Coming out of high school, I wasn’t intimidated by Monmouth being a liberal arts school,” he said. “It’s one of the things I’ve really liked about going to college here. I’m not great at any one thing, but my experience here has helped me be decent at a wide range of things.”
That applies to multiple academic disciplines, as well as extracurricular activities. One class that had particular impact was “Building Communities,” a Citizenship course taught by Dean David Timmerman.
“There were lots of productive conversations and discussions about trying to make a difference,” said Asbell. “I learned a lot from that class.”
Of course, he has also learned in his major, and Asbell says he was pleasantly surprised by Monmouth’s accounting curriculum, especially as he reached the upperclass courses.
“I thought I would need to learn a plethora of formulas and facts, and that was scary to think about,” recalled Asbell, when asked about deciding to major in accounting during his senior year of high school. “There’s been some of that, of course, but when I became a junior, there were less quizzes and tests, and my performance in class was based more on my ability to figure things out. What the major has really done is taught me how to learn. I’m confident that whatever job I get into, they’ll have to teach me some elements of the job, but I’ll learn faster thanks to the education I’ve received and what I’ve learned here.”
Asbell said his experiences in Intermediate Accounting II, which many students feel is the most difficult course in the major, are a good example of “learning to learn.”
“I struggled in that class, and I felt I was behind the whole semester,” he said. “Discussion was a big element of the class, and I didn’t get high marks in that area. It stayed that way the whole semester. But when I was done with the class, I looked back at everything that had happened and everything that I’d learned, and I think it turned out pretty well. I learned so much from the class – it just didn’t click right away like some classes do. I figured out a lot of concepts and a lot of things that I will need moving forward. It just wasn’t obvious at the time.”
What’s more obvious to Asbell is how his involvement in extracurricular activities has helped him grow.
“I joined Phi Delta Theta as a sophomore, and that helped me grow professionally,” he said. “I got an executive position right away, and then I became president. Coming out of high school, I was not expecting to join a fraternity, much less lead one. It’s really helped me with communication, setting goals and planning ahead.”
But Asbell said if he could pick just one thing that he’s most proud of, it would be serving as head resident of Winbigler Hall.
“You can really help a number of people in that position, and I’m banking on the head resident experience to help me in the future,” said Asbell, who also has a leadership role in his Bible study group, Ignite, an experience that has helped him “grow spiritually.”
As for what lies ahead after his May graduation, Asbell appreciates the fact that his liberal arts education has not restricted him to one career path.
“I could get into business, finance or sales, in addition to accounting,” he said. “I’m open to any of those.”