Hillsdale College football team competing in a game.

Meet Time Management Masters Jay Rose and Maria Grinis

Written by Jo Kroeker

When senior Jay Rose goes to his 8:00 a.m. class, he’s not bleary-eyed like most college students. He’s already made time for weight lifting with the team and some early-morning studying.

A math and physics double major and football player, Jay’s schedule stays busy and looks pretty much like this: attend class from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., practice, eat, watch videos of other teams, and do more homework.

He said the secret to his success is strict scheduling.

“For me, it’s a struggle to figure out when I’m most productive. I like to wake up early and do stuff in the morning because it’s just me. No one is going to bug you. You have to figure out how to say no to people too. A lot of people aren’t going to be as busy as you. You have to understand that, do what you need to do, and be strict about your schedule.”

Jay found academic encouragement and support where he least expected it—his fraternity, Alpha Tau Omega.

When he rushed, he was skeptical about the common perception of Greek life that fraternity guys don’t “focus on school.” As a football player and a double major, he would have been at odds with the Animal House stereotype.

But ATO has not only contradicted that representation; it has encouraged him to succeed and taught him time management. Rose explained that the ATO community embraces learning, which is a huge part of the liberal arts education. In it, he has found a core group of three or four guys to work with and talk through math and physics problems together.

Even with the lessons he’s learned, from sticking to a schedule and saying no sometimes, Jay acknowledged he has to consider his limits. In the fall, he’ll scale back his involvement in ATO because “football comes first,” something he’s grateful his brothers understand.

“It’s just a matter of knowing what I can handle. But you really never know what you can handle until you can try it, so you have to say, ‘Let’s just go for it.’”

During Maria Grinis’s junior year, she was captain of the soccer team, a board member of the Spanish honorary, and a self-proclaimed “science kid” who spent the bulk of her time in classes and labs. The more you talk to her, the more her drive to excel in school and sports and, ultimately, get into medical school, becomes evident.

“I’m not someone who goes out frequently,” Maria said. “I’m involved in a lot of things, but I don’t tend to stop working. Even when I’m taking a break from school, I’m accomplishing something.”

Her so-called “breaks” from school don’t look like breaks. She’s the house chair of her sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma. This includes a laundry list of responsibilities: being a liaison between the house staff and the girls, reminding the girls to clean up, helping plan out the menus, and making sure people don’t put duct tape on the walls.

However, Maria doesn’t consider her obligations to Kappa as a nuisance. Instead, she credits Kappa for teaching her how to make the most of her time and for helping her find value in Saturday breaks for sorority events or the impromptu, laughter-filled hangouts that would pop up throughout her day.

“It’s forced me to stop at times and remember: I’m at this event; I physically can’t do school; I can’t do any of my other commitments; I just have to be fully present here. And that has been really good for my soul.”

Maria was not always sold on the benefits of Greek life. Like Jay, she had many concerns about how it would affect her success. As a fiercely independent woman, could she see herself associating with Kappa? Would the mandatory events take over her life and ruin her GPA for medical school?

The upperclassmen Kappas she talked to didn’t think so. The junior and senior women said that sometimes, yes, Kappa takes a lot of time; but in the long run, it has helped them achieve their goals.

So Maria modeled her approach to school, sports, and sorority life on these older women who were applying to and getting into medical school. She said they were a good resource for making sure she was on the right trajectory. Unlike her pre-med adviser, these women were “people like me, in a sorority, reaching their goals.”

Kappa taught Maria an essential life lesson that students have to learn in college: balance.

“Yes, college is academics, but there are also other elements to it, and I would hate to sacrifice my college experience purely in pursuit of a number.”

Jo KroekerJoAnna Kroeker (but everyone calls her Jo), ’19, exchanged flip flops and eternal sunshine in Fresno, California, for snow-boots and school at Hillsdale, where she studies French and journalism. Former Opinions and current Features Editor of the Hillsdale Collegian, she gives thanks for the coffee and brown sugar Pop Tarts that make school and a weekly newspaper possible. When she’s not writing, she’s tutoring other writers or thinking about writing while doing yoga, baking, or reading.

Published in February 2019.