Today’s featured member profile comes from the brilliant Ros Wong, take it away Ros!
Member: Ros Wong
My research has a focus on the highly contentious issue of saving for retirement — why do women never seem to have enough, with the most vulnerable being single and/or self-employed women. I centre on self-employed women residing in within rural, regional and metropolitan South Australia. Incorporating a trans -disciplinary approach to the project, I develop a Multi-Level Model of Retirement Planning (MMRP), to identify how the fields of finance, social relationships and health within the macro, meso and micro levels of society affect women’s retirement planning.
What drew you to this topic?
A vested interest and maybe a chance to make sure other women do not end up like me. I have no super. Retirement age has come quicker than I thought it would. I quite clearly remember sitting in a musty nursing school listening to an equally musty old gentleman explaining that a private National Health Service Pension would be vital to having a good retirement. Wise words.
My husband and I moved to Australia in 1981. Our house in the UK didn’t sell before we left, so to pay for airfares it was decided that I would use my pension fund to pay for the airfares.Never mind, retirement is years away, I will put it back when I start working. It never happened, I am not alone.
Although some self-employed women are successful at retirement planning many are not. Many like me, thought ‘I will do it at some stage’ — the day never came. Why? And like a light bulb going off, there was my thesis. Retirement planning is not just about saving money there are so many aspects to this complex process.
What have been the highlights of your RHD journey?
Highlights, is it sending off the book chapter that you thought would never be good enough, presenting at a national conference and seeing people genuinely interested in your research or is it simply sharing a coffee with a friend and gaining clarity over something that has been puzzling you for days. All of these I think make the RHD journey an unforgettable experience, a journey that has highlights only an RHD student will understand. For me, it has also been the opportunity to write on what I am passionate about. Making good friends outside of my daily life, that are supportive, understanding and most of all empathetic of my elation and despair. One unexpected highlight was the professional development programs our university runs. I never thought in a million years I would be saying that, but I have learnt so much.
What do you wish you had known before you started?
Be kind to yourself. Talk to the other PhD students — you are not alone. Own your research — it’s yours. Oh, and the printer will never work when you need to print an article off that you have just found, and is crucial to your research, so crucial it cannot be saved as a PDF on your computer. Paper is a prized commodity!
What advice would you give to others who are either just beginning, or contemplating starting postgraduate study?
Make a friend or two, one that listens, understands and is compassionate. A thesis is time consuming, it slowly but surely shrouds your whole life, so self-care is important. Remember to take time out and enjoy the simple things that we often overlook, your family, friends, companion animals or just go for a walk. Do not over commit yourself, be conscious of your limitations, such as time. Accept teaching opportunities, but within reason. Keep writing.
What do you do when you aren’t working on your research?
Four children who are all grown up still keep me on my toes, as two are chefs and run a restaurant, therefore mum is always a good back-up when they are short-staffed. I love spending time with my companion animal Willow, who often feels extremely neglected (she sulks when the headphones go on). Once a week I teach English as a second language at a migrant centre in Adelaide, which is challenging and completely different from my uni work, so it’s a great diversion technique.
Thanks Ros! If you think you could answer our 6 quick questions, drop me an email at email@example.com
Today’s featured member profile comes from postgrad committee member Josie Reade who does a fabulous job showcasing your thesis snapshots (if you haven’t completed yours yet, you can jump on the bandwagon here). Take it away Josie!
Member: Josie Reade
- What are you researching?
My research explores the relations between women’s bodies and social media, with a particular focus on the digitally mediated fitspo phenomenon. Fitspo – short for fitspiration, a hybrid of the words fit and inspiration – typically refers to images, videos and motivational mantras that people post to social media with the purpose of inspiring themselves and others to live a ‘fit’ and ‘healthy’ life. On the highly visual social media platform, Instagram, fitspo has been used as a hashtag over 50 million times to signpost images and videos of fit bodies, stylish activewear and exercise equipment, ‘inspirational’ mantras such as ‘strong is the new skinny’ and‘you can have results of excuses, not both’, and ‘clean’ meals such as acai bowls, green smoothies and zucchini noodles. Through conducting a digital ethnography which includes participant observation, interviews and document analysis, my research hopes to open up new ways of thinking about fitspo and contribute to an emerging body of work that pushes beyond media-effects arguments and research methodologies preoccupied with human representations.
- What drew you to this topic?
Images of ‘fit’ bodies on social media first caught my attention at the beginning of my honours year in 2014. At this time fitspo began to gain real traction as a hashtag on social media platforms such as Instagram, Tumblr and Pinterest. As a keen social media user with an interest in the sociology of the body, I began to question why my best friend – who is a personal trainer – wasn’t reading these images with the same critical lens that I was. In my honours research, I therefore set about examining the representations of women’s bodies in these images through conducting a content analysis. See my peer-reviewed journal article for the results of my honours research: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/cross_fac/iatl/reinvention/issues/volume9issue1/reade While this research was indeed a valuable entry point, it left me curious about how the women captured in and viewing these images experienced their bodies and gender, and how fitspo manifested in their everyday lives. Hence the PhD!
- What have been the highlights of your RhD journey?
My confirmation! It was in March 2017 and was probably the best day of my candidature so far. Having the opportunity to share my emerging ideas with my colleagues, friends and family was great.
- What do you wish you had known before you started?
That everything will take much longer than expected. My confirmation got rescheduled four times due to unrealistic deadlines and unexpected bouts of tonsillitis and I waited over 6 months for ethics approval (not due to issues with my application, but administrative delays!).
- What advice would you give to others who are either just beginning, or contemplating starting postgraduate study?
Make time for yourself and go on holidays throughout the PhD, you can’t pour from an empty cup.
- What do you do when you aren’t working on your research?
When I’m not working on my research, most of my time is spent with my family, friends and partner. I love travelling and this year I was fortunate enough to go to New Zealand, the UK and China. I am also a casual research assistant on the Life Patterns research project and occasionally get some tutoring work in breadth subjects offered by the Youth Research Centre.
Thanks Josie! If you think you could answer our 6 quick questions, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org