Surviving the first semester – starting a new chapter of life


Life at university has been a drastic change from the regimented routine I was accustomed to in secondary school.  After only half a year, I have already learnt a lot of things I never did at school. Whether it be getting work done on time or just attending every course, the decisions are mine alone.

Starting out in Chemnitz and Mittweida was somewhat weird.  It felt like I was being introduced to my classmates in secondary school all over again. You don’t really know anyone, and you have no clue where you have to be. Getting to know a few people was surprisingly easy, however. I usually have trouble trying to make new contacts, but even during “O-Woche” (orientation week) at both universities, I got to know a lot of people.   Additionally, my degree programme has few students, and that made it easier because we are bound to spend a lot of time together one way or another. Thanks to a couple of advisers from the FSR, we got to know a lot of important locations and people.

I didn’t have any trouble attending all my planned courses, at first. The semester wore on, it became more and more tempting to just skip one or more classes that I really wasn’t in the mood for. It does snowball pretty quickly, though: When you skip one session for the first time, you may have somewhat of a guilty conscience about it; then, all of sudden you aren’t bothered that much anymore. For me, it was still possible to catch up, but I wouldn’t recommend skipping classes.  Making a habit of it can lead to harsh consequences.


Looking back at the exams, I honestly have to say that I have seen my strengths and weaknesses. While I tried to study as much as possible, working at home just didn’t work for me. There are way too many distractions, from video games, YouTube and TV to cleaning up. (For some odd reason, the urge to tidy up is strongest when one has other priorities!) For me, studying at the library worked out really well, though. Just getting up early and spending the whole morning and midday between books made focusing on my materials much easier. I could even eat lunch at the university every day. I did, however, greatly underestimate the time it would take me to go through all the things I hadn’t quite mastered. This may or may not have resulted in my grades being a little different from my expectations; I am, after all, a perfectionist!  But after this first-semester awakening, I’m now better prepared for the second semester.

All in all, I can say that my first semester was really enjoyable.  After eight years of attending the same school, university has been quite a change, but apart from underestimating the level I have to perform in exams, I survived without any injuries. I hope I’ll pass the coming semesters just as well or hopefully better, but for now, I can relax just a little more during the break.


Daren Hauke

(Bachelor Energy Efficiency, 1st semester)

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