Monday Motivation #117 (8/29/22)

Happy Monday!

I spent the morning with many of our newest graduate students at the College’s orientation program. Despite an emergency alarm sending us outside midway through, I think the newest members of our graduate community felt more at home by lunchtime and I got to see many of you at the picnic in the EB courtyard. At the orientation, I shared a little about myself and my role within the college, and mentioned that students should be hearing from me by email at least once a week. I also realized that, after 116 messages, it was probably time to do a “re-orientation” to these Monday Motivations.

I started sending these emails in the summer of 2020, when MSU sent everyone home to work/learn remotely. “Staying motivated” was one of the top concerns our graduate students expressed as they tried to navigate a summer at home, so I thought I’d collate some resources and send “motivational” emails on Mondays for a few weeks. When MSU announced that Fall 2020 would be mostly remote as well, students asked me to keep writing. After more than two years, these Monday Motivations have become a way to connect our graduate community and share resources about the college, the campus, and personal and professional development.

If you read along, you’ll learn a bit (or a lot) about me, my experiences as a graduate student, my work at MSU, and my life off campus. My spouse (“Mr. Dr. Colbry” aka Dirk) is also a faculty member in Engineering, and our oldest kid Catt (they/them) often joins us on campus since they’re enrolled in an online high school and college program. We also have three younger kids who attend Okemos public schools, a dog named Star, and we live next door to one of our siblings and their family (we have four other siblings scattered across the midwest). I like to knit (check out Dirk’s socks!), work a LOT of puzzles, and try to keep plants alive (with mixed results). I don’t really enjoy cooking, but love hosting big family gatherings (our dining room table seats 14!). (I also write with a lot of parentheses, exclamation points — and em dashes!)

I try hard to set a good example of work-life balance, so while you’ll find I respond pretty quickly to emails I also take time away from my inbox regularly. Next week you won’t see a Monday Motivation due to the Labor Day holiday (remember that most MSU buildings will be locked, so if you plan to come to the office you might want to check in advance that your ID card still opens the doors!).


P.S. If you’re curious about what I’ve been saying for 116 weeks, you can browse previous messages here:

Three Things to Try This Week

Finalize your Fall Schedule — MSU has an unusual tradition of starting the fall semester with a “Monday schedule on a Wednesday.” That means that even though the first day of classes is Wednesday, August 31, you’ll follow your “Monday” schedule that day (the rest of the semester, your class schedule days should match your calendar!). Sometimes there are last minute changes to course locations or times, so it’s always a good idea to double check your schedule for classes you’re taking (or teaching) just before the semester begins.

Organize your Workspace — September is a great time to regroup and reorganize the space(s) where you work most frequently; here’s a quick guide with some helpful tips:

Read Something Funny — one of my go-to stress-relieving (procrastinating!) websites during graduate school was Check out their 200 most popular comics here:

More Resources

  • Fall Welcome events at MSU run through next week Thursday, September 8. These are great opportunities to learn about campus and find new ways to engage with the Spartan Nation; if you’re hoping to avoid crowds, you might also want to check the calendar to see when various parts of campus will be busy:
  • Need “swipe card” access to campus buildings or research labs? You’ll want to make sure that you have an up-to-date Spartan ID card. If you already have an ID but don’t have access to the spaces you’d like, check with your graduate program secretary for instructions. If you need an ID, visit the MSU ID Office in the International Center first:
  • The EB has a great view of Spartan Stadium, which means that parking and access are restricted on home game days. Take a moment to update your calendar now so that you know when to cheer on the Spartan Nation — or when to work from home to avoid the crowds!



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Katy Luchini Colbry

Katy Luchini Colbry


wanted to send a few supportive emails to her students, but ended up with a weekly blog. Follow along to see how long it takes her to run out of stories….