A Day in the Life of Haiqing Yu

Motivated. Inspiring. Tenacious.

My name is Haiqing (pronounced: Hai-ching) Yu. I am originally from China and an Associate Professor in Chinese media and culture in the School of Humanities and Languages in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

I was a television journalist before coming to Australia to do a PhD and then focused on researching and teaching Chinese (and Asian) media, culture, and language. My 20th century belonged to China, and my 21st century to Australia. I continue to travel between the two countries. As a single mother with two kids I understand what it is like to be a first-generation migrant, a single parent working full-time, and an aspiring leader in academia.
Learn more about Haiqing

  • 7:00 am - Alarm goes off and I’m up. Put away dishes from last night and make breakfast. Say goodbye to my daughter who takes the bus to school and wake up my son, dress him up, eat breakfast with him, and then drive him to UNSW childcare. Traffic is not bad after 9am.
  • Arrive at work before 10am and head straight to my desk. Go through the list of tasks for the day and then read through emails.
  • Draft a conference panel proposal on digital communication and disability citizenship for Australia & NZ Communications Association Conference in July and contact a few colleagues at other universities as potential panellists.
  • Respond to emails. These include important ones about an Australia Research Council application and report—finalizing the bits and pieces for a Discovery Project application as a second-named chief investigator on Chinese migrants and social media in Australia. Email a few people to try and find a casual tutor for my Chinese language course and write a recommendation letter for an undergraduate student who took my Chinese media course in 2015 to support her application for a postgrad law degree in the US.
  • Read a research proposal from a potential PhD candidate from China on social media and e-governance in China, and give comments and feedback.
  • 1:00 pm - Lunch is leftovers in front of my computer and then a quick trip to the bank, and some time out of the office.
  • Afternoon: Supervision meeting with a new PhD student. The project is on English-language press in China and its role in shaping Chinese soft power. The student is a mature age student from Singapore with a background in journalism. This first meeting lays out expectations, rules, and the services/help available. He is the third PhD student I have been primary supervisor for.
  • Back to drafting the conference panel proposal and send it off to collaborators for feedback.
  • More emails!
  • 5:00 pm - Pack up and rush to the childcare to pick up my little one; hang around the nearby playground to avoid driving home during the rush hour
  • 7:00 pm - Back home and into the kitchen straightaway to cook dinner. By 8.30pm we finish dinner and then I bath my son and put him to sleep.
  • 11:00 pm - Finally finish helping my daughter with her maths. Wash dishes and clean the kitchen; by the time I finally head toward my bed it’s past midnight.
My typical day is packed with tasks and endless jobs. It takes lots of energy to do two jobs: one paid and the other unpaid (domestic). I rarely have a moment to myself, to rest and to recuperate. That's perhaps the reality faced by many mid-career academic women who have the demands of both professional and personal lives.