Q&A: UM Law Student Grows Plant Hobby from Stress Management to Book Launch

Megan Wampler surrounding by her plants and reading a law textbook

A busy third-year law student in the Blewett School of Law, Megan Wampler has long turned to her houseplant hobby to manage stress and find balance. She recently launched a book, How to Speak PLANT: Plant Care for Every Beginner and Every Houseplant, on Kickstarter. It this Q&A she shared a bit about being a plant hobbyist and how caring for plants and writing the book helped her to be a more successful student.

How did you become interested in houseplants?

I first started collecting houseplants as an undergraduate at the University of Michigan as a form of stress management. Caring for plants is very relaxing for me. It's one of those tasks that forces me to turn my brain "off" and just focus on my plants instead of stressing about an upcoming exam or homework.

What's your favorite plant?

My favorite plant changes all the time! One of my very favorites has always been my cotton candy fern, or Nephrolepis exaltata Smithii, because my mom gave it to me and I love how it looks! It is one of the most delicate fluffy ferns in the hobby and has a really great vibrant green color that almost looks fake.

Has caring for plants helped you through law school?

Plants have absolutely helped in law school! Even more so than in undergrad, I think stress management is critical to being successful in law school. The ability to turn off my brain and stop obsessing about law school for a few hours a week is great. I think law students commonly spend too much time on their homework and readings, staying up until 2 a.m. or pulling all-nighters, and don't manage their stress very well, which just makes law school harder. My most "successful" semester of grades was when I made sure I took time to go to the gym and take care of my plants, even if that meant skimping on readings. Homework is important, of course, but brains need a break to be able to absorb information. 

How were you able to find balance between classes, your legal internship and your plant hobby?

In terms of juggling my schedule and responsibilities, I think I'm most efficient and do better work when I take time for myself and my happiness. I love being a law student and I love the legal field, but I'm not just a law student or just a legal intern. I might take a few hours a week for myself to fuss with my plants or to work on my book. It seems like I'd have less time for my other responsibilities, but when I'm happier and less stressed, I get my work done faster and it's easier to juggle everything.

Have you noticed other law students with interests in plants?

There are definitely lots of law students interested in plants! I think it's a common hobby for Millennials and Gen Z in general, especially after the huge boom in the hobby during COVID. I imagine I'm not the only one who thinks plants are a good source of stress relief.

What would you say to a law student thinking about getting houseplants?

My advice to a law student thinking about jumping into the plant hobby: do it! There's more to life than just homework and readings, and taking the time to relax and focus on your own happiness will do wonders for your academic performance.