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Throwing Caps

On this page, you will be able to read graduates talking about their transitioning experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. To protect our participants, all the names below are pseudonyms.

If you are a graduate, university staff or employer and would like to share your thoughts with the research team and a wider audience, get in touch with us here.

In this blog, the graduate talks about multiple stressors of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jason | December 2022


Panic texting: real-time crisis while travelling abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic

Rhonda was born and raised in Hong Kong and decided to pursue an undergraduate degree in the UK. At the time of the conversation, Rhonda had just completed her degree and had decided to defer her graduation ceremony to a later time after feeling homesick for months. She had already delayed her return several times because of problems in getting a quarantine hotel booking. Although Rhonda eventually succeeded in reserving her quarantine hotel, she had to take a connecting flight as there were no direct flights from where she was in the UK to Hong Kong. By the time Rhonda reached her first destination, Bangkok, she was informed that her family members had tested positive for COVID. There were also problems with flights because of a typhoon. The following conversation is between Rhonda and her friend Edgar.  

Rhonda    UGH idk what is going on we r so late. i think it’s bc the runways r wet bc of typhoon but ugh we have been circling for so long. UGH they are diverting us to Vietnam. i'm so pissed i keep crying. what was the point in leaving the uk then!! i feel like i missed my grad - basically one of the most important moments of my life for no reason! i didn't even get home on time! and now this screws up all the quarantine stuff too!


Edgar    Oh god is it the typhoon??

Rhonda    Yes and also Dad has COVID and now Petunia might also have COVID

Edgar    Oh no! Oh god! Are you Okay! It will be okay!

Rhonda    tbh Petunia has no symptoms. i am praying it is fine

Edgar    It will be fine! It will be!

Edgar    wait then what are you going to do with PCR and quarantine arrangements? is everything okay? do you need help for anything?

Rhonda    idk idk what to do bc our pcrs from the uk aren't valid anymore!

Edgar    OKAY! I CALLED THE AIRLINE! NO NEED TO REDO PCR! everything will be fine

Rhonda    I'm so scared

Edgar    DON’T WORRY! it will work out

Flora is a Hong Kong student who was studied at a university in the US. She returns to Hong Kong every winter and summer break to see her family. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, many direct flights between the US and Hong Kong were cancelled because of Hong Kong’s strict anti-pandemic policies. Those who entered Hong Kong had to conduct a mandatory PCR test 48 hours prior to their arrival in Hong Kong. As a result, those who took transit flights would have to redo their PCR tests if they missed their connecting flight. At the time of this conversation, Flora was about to board her flight in the USA to Japan and then onto Hong Kong. However, the airline informed Floral that her flight to Japan would be delayed due to unprecedented 'issues' and that she would miss her connecting flight to Hong Kong. The following exchange between Floral and her friend Ross occurred while Floral was negotiating with the airline ground staff about alternative flights that she could take in order to return to Hong Kong in time to check in for her quarantine hotel.

Flora    OMG OKAY The lady helping me just disappeared


Flora    PLSSSS

Ross    wait do u have anything to eat. what's gonna happen now?

Flora    so they have to send me to another city in the US then to Japan then BACK TO HK....

Ross    OMG lemme quickly check flights for you


Ross    Here’s some flights […]

Flora    lemme check is there only one flight from the airport to Japan?

Ross    yeah wait I mean Juniper Airlines would also work but idk if they're gonna give the flight to you

Flora    okay i checked i wouldn't make the Juniper flight

Ross   oh shit 1158 won't work and 6am ur COVID PCR won't come back in time u know what get them to be responsible for your PCR. u have to do ur covid test in 24 hours and pcr turnover time is not enough if u take that 6am flight

Flora    wait wait wait but like they have to do something i can't be stuck here my quarantine hotel as well-

Flora    okay I think they found a way out…

Ross    i think it's the only choice and u have to call ur quarantine hotel cus u won't be arriving on time to check in

Flora    oh ur right ((expletive)) i've never had a problem flying back to Hong Kong this is gonna be so annoyin



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