What’s your weirdest hobby?

advice from brown

“I collect psychic tarot cards, crystals, and other occult paraphernalia. I have a website where I interpret people’s dreams and tell them who they were in past lives and alternate lives. It started when I got into different religious anthologies, and that got me into the occult. And even though I don’t necessarily believe in these things, I like the kind of associations that people find significant. If someone thinks a quartz crystal skull can predict tomorrow’s weather, that’s just interesting to me. I like that people find meaning in it.”

        – Mari LeGagnoux ‘16

“I really like archiving things. Basically I use Pinterest and Evernote to archive crochet patterns and candy wrappers. And I save wrappers. Anything wrapped individually–cookies, candies, chocolate, tootsie rolls, and Dum Dums and this Korean candy called Peko Milky Candy, which has a design I really like. I used to have huge boxes of candy wrappers, but now I try to save stuff only if I need it. And I make things out of wrappers. I have a cutout of Jujube wrappers on my bedroom wall right now.”

        – Madeline DiGiovanni ‘17

“We’re making a robot. It’s about yea big, it’s got a three-and-a-half pound axe, and it runs on scooter wheels. Uh… what does it do? That’s the interesting part: It doesn’t do anything. We just wanted to build a robot. And we wanted to use a welder to do it. It can move and turn and chop its axe but not all of those things at the same time. It’s called Axebot. It’s almost done; we’ve put in about 50 hours of work, and we’re about three or four hours from finishing.”

        – Group of Friends, Physics Department

“In high school, I built a lot of structures for Science Olympiad. Nowadays I still really enjoy making stuff out of balsa wood. No one actually has time for that kind of hobby in college, but whenever I have a final project for a class that can have an art component to it, I try to make something with my hands. I took a prisons class last fall, and for my final project I made a big Panopticon out of balsa wood, and it took me about 15 hours. I did it in between my other finals while watching TV, and it was really fun.”

        – Abby Muller ‘16

“I played a lot of lacrosse when I was younger, but I was always more interested in the equipment than the sport. So then I got interested in dying and stringing lacrosse heads. You can customize lacrosse heads just using clothing dye and custom mesh stringing or, in my case, using leather and nylon strings. I had a little business where I was customizing lacrosse heads for my friends. The best one I ever did took me five days. It was black with white mesh and rainbow splatters.”

        – Matt Cooper ‘18

“I relieve stress by building empires in video games. It’s because I’m a history nerd, and naturally I was drawn to these games, and then I realized it was quite wonderful that you could relieve stress and be an imperialist at the same time. I play Civilization, Total War, Europe Universalists… all the grand strategy games basically. It’s like, total immersion in a different era where you get to be a great Roman for a day, or a Greek, and you can be like the heroes of old, or the villains of old for that matter. There’s no practical usage though, because the way I’d run a government in a game is completely contrary to the way I’d run a government in real life. In real life, I’m not an imperialist.”

        – Tim Peltier ‘19

“I write erotic fanfiction. It started when I read Outlander in 8th grade. That’s a book that taught me how sex scenes could be used to further character development. From that, I learned that there’s a lot of plot and character development inherent in sex scenes that people don’t really talk about. I think that erotica is ignored as a genre because it’s taboo. But for one, it’s a female form of expression that opposes male-dominated porn, which is extremely violent and degrading. And it’s about female desires, and it has a female perspective on it. It’s a safe space to explore aspects of sexuality that people don’t really talk about. And plus it’s really great stress relief.”

        – Sophia ‘18

“Sailing. I grew up on the waterfront, and I had a small boat which I learned to sail on and a father who helped teach me. Later in life I stopped for a while, because boats are expensive. The last time I sailed was this time last year, with a friend’s boat at Newport. I like the challenge of handling yourself in a small craft on the ocean. Plus, it’s an amazing outdoor environment.”

        – Albert, artist

“Since becoming a professor, I’ve thought about cooking a lot. Eating and cooking used to be a chore for me, but now that I’m not pressed for money, I find it really relaxing. I plan meals all through the day, I go to the farmer’s market, and I collect new recipes. Last weekend I made a wild rice mushroom dish that I’d been planning all week, and I used wild rice from Minnesota, where I’m from, and mushrooms from the farmer’s market, and I had to get my hands on an orange. My partner loved it. It sounds silly, but I like that something I can do to relax also has such a good outcome.”

        – Rachel O’Toole, Professor of Latin American History