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Is this appropriate to ask a prof?


euges116
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Okay, here's the thing. I'm a current grad student, btw, and know my profs pretty well, and they know me pretty well.

So, I collect mugs with (official) university logos on them. Some people collect stamps and butterflies, I collect U-mugs. Obviously, there's no way I can visit every college/university in my lifetime, but the profs in my program typically travel for conferences quite a bit in the year. I'm wondering if you think it's appropriate for me to ask them to buy me a mug, and I'll pay them back? It's not like a postcard, so it's not that small that you can just slip in a bag. It is a mug, a bit bulky to wrap. But, I do intend on paying them back. But is this appropriate? I'm kinda 50/50 on this, so I thought I might here your thoughts. I guess it would depend on my relationship with the individual profs, huh?

Oh, also, I don't intend to ask for every mug from every university. Just the more "famous" ones like Harvard, Stanford, Oxford, etc...

Edited by euges720
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It doesn't seem strange if you are really close, but I can't really evaluate your position. I have some profs from undergrad that I would ask to do that, but I am comfortable in those relationships.

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do you hang out with this prof outside of class? go to coffee? have lunch? then it's probably okay to ask. if you just take a class with them... i'd think it's a little weird. i'd stick to asking the grad students who travel to conferences to pick 'em up for you.

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There's also the possibility that the prof would have a hard time getting to a store to buy the mug. When I've been at conferences, I usually don't find the university store until the second day or so, and then there's not a lot of free time during store hours, if you go to all the talks.

I wanted a mug for myself at the last conference I was at, but the conference was over a weekend, so the store was closed by the time I found it and had time to shop. The request doesn't seem like a big deal (and I might even ask it, if I were you) but I've also found it can be surprisingly difficult to find spare time while at a conference, which is something to consider.

Maybe you should order online, or start submitting to more conferences at famous universities yourself. :)

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I don't think it's a good idea. It adds an errand to a likely already pretty packed schedule & it is one of those requests that is hard for anyone to say "no" to, even though they may not want to do it. So, you run a risk of being given a "yes" answer, but then also being resented for the annoyance factor if the prof secretly wishes you'd never asked.

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