Thesis on my way

It’s been a frustrating week so far. I was about to download community level data from China Health and Nutrition Survey (CHNS), but discovered that they need an IRB approval because the data contains identifiable information (it’s only about location, not specific individuals). My previous experience with IRB (for my Uganda project) suggests this is going to be a lengthy and somewhat random process. On the UNC side, they claim it will take 2-3 weeks to process the request, and another 2-3 weeks to “ship” the data to me (though I doubt if it’ll take this long from Chapel Hill to Durham, which is about a 30-minute bus ride).

So currently I am exploring the individual level data (children in particular) and reviewing literature on gender bias, parental investment and children outcomes. I had fun reading a working paper by Nancy Qian who used CHNS to prove the economies of scale in children’s education. There’s also some interesting research going on about migrant households. I

When I was talking with a professor of mine last year about doing a thesis, he smiled and said :”you will need to put a lot of efforts into it.” (你会脱一层皮的). I am having this feeling but am quite sure I will make it through. Although every day is packed, I am still able to put aside some time for sports (~ 3 hours per week) and singing (~1 hour per week, which always sweeps away all my stress). Luckily I’ve got very supportive mentors, friends, and family by my side. Every cloud has a silver lining.


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