Grad School 101: Introduction to Mugs

Mugs are a key part of life in grad school. I’ve only been here for 2 months, and I have already determined that other than my phone. mugs may be the most important tool I have as a graduate student. Why you may ask?

Because mugs are the delivery vessel for the life blood of the grad student: CAFFEINE!!!!!!!!!

Yes folks, that golden nectar that runs SPH (School of Public Health), that glorious go-go juice, must be poured down our throats some way, and what better way than fun, colorful mugs! But these vessels of alertness not only feed our legal addictions, they also tell us a little bit about the drinker holding the mug. And so, to introduce myself, I decided to open my cabinet doors and explain my life course via ceramics.

Origin Stories


These four mugs come from my times in high school and early undergrad. The short, all green mug in the back was almost always by my side in my first two years at the University of Iowa during my undergrad. This mug was my absolute favorite for 2 reasons: 1. It is larger than your standard size mug. MORE CAFFEINE in the same amount of trips to the kitchen! 2. It is my favorite color, green. I LOVE green. Love it. My pillows, lamps, mugs, I have all of them in green (though maize and blue are starting to grow on me!).

The tall green mug in the back is from my high school competitive science team. I participated on that team from age 12-18, and then came back as an assistant coach until I was 21.  The environment was so inclusive to anyone who wanted to participate, I made great friends(some I’m still in contact with today), and I learned a lot about science, something I love and love seeing fostered in fun,educational ways. Going back to coach for my team was a joy, and all told that group spanned almost a decade of my life, so kind of important, I guess. And since these days usually started around 4 am, that liquid alertness was a must!

Next, the short black mug. This mug is from the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company(CSC). I was a camp counselor for their middle school camp for two years, as well as a participant in their workshops. I included this mug because I adore theater, and have been involved in it all through high school and undergrad, and I adored working with the CSC. Again, the inclusive environment was amazing. Creativity and cohesion and learning were all fostered from Day 1. It was also great to see preteens and teens actually being engaged in something and acting like they like it (rather than the usual apathy and eye rolls). However, the amount of time spent running after a bunch of middle schools was directly related to how much caffeine I needed to imbibe. Still, I saw those kids learn a lot, and in a perfect world I’d love to work integrating theater and public health.

Finally, my dog mug. Dogs. Dogs dogs dogs. I love my dogs. I have two at home (Truman and Cody, they’re adorable) and volunteer at a no-kill shelter as well. Every time I walk in at 8 am on Sunday, travel mug firmly in hand, even if I’m beat tired, I always walk in overjoyed because I got to play with dogs for 4 hours. Yay dogs!

Undergrad Adventures


These mugs are all from my time in undergrad. The two in the front represent kind of the same thing-I’m a big ol’ nerd. I love me some cult TV shows, and what better examples than Doctor Who and Avatar:The Last Airbender? I had a lot of fun times with friends in the dorms binge watching these shows, and I always get a little nostalgic when using these mugs (PS if anyone here would want to binge watch these shows, or any other show let’s be honest, let me know!)

The mug in the back was a gift from my boss at my last job. In Iowa City, I worked for the National American Indian and Alaska Native ATTC (Addiction Technology Transfer Center). What does that mean? Basically they train mental health workers to be culturally sensitive, and I became a master of the copy machine. But this job was, and still is, very important to me. I also got to keep this mug at my desk and make tea throughout the day. Gotta meet those deadlines!

And so here I am at Michigan! Trying to live the dream and get a degree so I can go into the workforce.

Well, that’s all I’ve got for now! A brief introduction to me and a small idea of how I got here. And in case you were wondering, I was using the Shakespear mug while writing this, because who better to help me write my first blog post than The Bard?

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