Stay focused and love your PhD!
Blog prepared by Jesmin Ara Rupa
I started the journey of my PhD at the Centre for Global Food and Resources (GFAR) in April 2015 with a determination to make an original and significant contribution to the world of agricultural and applied economic research. Admittedly, the journey was indeed a roller coaster with a few thumps, but I have had rewarding experiences at every corner of those thumps. Now that I have successfully completed this journey, I would like to share my thesis summary and my experiences from PhD.
My Ph.D. thesis aims to improve the understanding of key socio-economic drivers of improved diet-quality and food security, which can lead to positive long-term diet-related health outcomes; thus, contributing to economic growth and development. In particular, my thesis addresses the following broad objectives: i) to explore the link between food market modernization and household diet diversity and diet quality (vitamin A, protein and heme iron) in urban Vietnam; ii) to understand the association of western food-away-from home (western FAFH) with the individual diet quality (calorie intake and macronutrients) of urban Vietnamese children, adolescents and adults, using data from 24-hour food diaries; and iii) to examine the relationship between Bangladesh rural farm household food security status, health and economic shocks and household socio-economic characteristics. Analyses of primary data from the Vietnam Urban Food Consumption and Expenditure Study, funded by Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), suggest that policy makers need to be aware of the impact of increasingly ‘obesogenic food environments’ on consumers’ diet quality in Vietnam. On the other hand, analysis of secondary data from the Bangladesh Integrated Household Survey (BIHS) 2012, highlights the need to consider the unique needs of farming households when designing food security interventions to address shocks among rural populations.
While doing PhD at GFAR, I have got a great opportunity to develop project management skills while I was working as a team member of the primary survey in Vietnam. Now, I am confident to conduct my own research project. I have also got many opportunities to introduce myself to other researchers and to show my research expertise through a number of domestic and international conference presentations.
Finally, from my own experience, I have realized that PhD can sometimes, be anxiety-inducing and maintaining mental health and well-being can sometimes, be difficult. Having something out of work to enjoy at some point during the week, helped me to reduce my stress level throughout my journey as a student. Also, I have always believed that no matter what you are up to, always believe in your capabilities. So, to my fellow PhD colleagues: Believe in yourself, stay focused, and of course, love your PhD!