Illustration with plant leaves, dice, and glasses.

Gladstone graduate students share their newfound hobbies.


Spending a year in shelter-in-place has encouraged all of us to find new ways to fill our days and take up some new hobbies. From cooking to gardening, a few of Gladstone’s graduate students share how they’ve been spending their time away from work during the pandemic.

Maxine Nelson, Huang Lab

What pandemic hobby have you picked up to keep yourself sane? 

I took up wood burning. I got a soldering iron and wooden tags in bulk. It’s a very calming craft.

Antara Rao, Huang Lab

How have you been spending your pandemic free time?

Six months into lockdown, I felt like Rapunzel from the beginning of Tangled. I tried a bunch of random indoor hobbies, with varied levels of success: desperately tried to keep plants alive, enthusiastically took up boxing (from Youtube videos), attempted to learn sewing (to fix the holes in my jacket pockets), made random trivia decks (with a disproportionately high number of Disney questions), started sketching characters from my favorite fantasy novels, and started a (currently ongoing) Dungeons and Dragons campaign.

Antara Rao holding her orchid above her head

Antara Rao has been keeping her plants alive. 

Morgane Leroux, Paz Lab

What is the latest non-academic thing you’ve read? 

A few months ago, I started to read the Harry Potter saga. I never read the books before but I saw all the movies. I was able to rediscover the universe that rocked my childhood and my adolescence. 

Copies of two Harry Potter books stacked on top of each other

Have you discovered any new passions during lockdown? 

Last year, I started buying lots of green plants for my apartment (which is now a small jungle).

Oscar Yip, Huang Lab

Oscar Yip Kayaking on the San Francisco Bay

Oscar Yip kayaking in the San Francisco Bay.

What activities have kept you sane during the lockdown this past year?

To stay sane during this past year of lockdown, I have really enjoyed kayaking, going on runs in Potrero Hill and taking in the view of the San Francisco skyline, playing tennis, calling up my parents for recipes to make home-cooked meals (i.e., Mapo tofu, green curry, etc.) and binging light-hearted TV shows.

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