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Interview with Renee Karunungan

16.06.2021 11:49 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

When and how did you start with planting?

I grew up in the Philippines surrounded by flowers and trees. My grandma liked them so I was always interested in them. I started getting serious with the hobby in 2019.

Why do you like it?

Plants give me a sense of peacefulness and calm. It also brings me joy when I see them flourishing and giving me new leaves or flowers.

What would you say is your biggest achievement so far?

I’m able to keep my 80 houseplants fairly happy! I do get pests here and there, and some of my plants have died, but I regularly check them (usually in the mornings before I start work) and most of them are alive and doing well

In what ways is your hobby complementary to your academic career? And are there perhaps any similarities?

The academy can be quite stressful, especially when you’re trying to finish your thesis. The plants help me with mental health and allow me to take a break when needed. I find it calming to water them, repot them, and even share them among friends. In terms of similarities, I think you do have to stick to a schedule (of watering, for plants; and of writing/working for the PhD) but also remain flexible in case anything happens out of your control. There can be bugs and pests (literally or in your software) that you need to take care of. Taking care of plants is also science and evidence based.

Does your hobby conflict with your academic work, such as missing deadlines or having to choose between events?

Never. Plants don’t require much from you – just make sure you water when the soil is dry and that’s it! They grow better when you leave them alone to do their own thing.

Would you recommend your hobby to other academics?

Definitely! There’s no such thing as ‘green thumb’ or ‘black thumb.’ As I mentioned earlier, it’s science and evidence based. They all need only two things: proper water and proper light. If you just give them enough for what they need, it’s fairly easy to do.


I’m Renee, currently a second year doctoral researcher at Loughborough University in the United Kingdom.



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