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Away from Uncertainty

The Central Academic Advising Office is supporting students with a workshop on how to structure their daily routines

Freiburg, May 08, 2020

During the coronavirus pandemic, the University of Freiburg is adapting its offering to the new situation. The team at the Central Academic Advising Office (ZSB), a department of the Student Service Center, helps students to handle their fear of examinations or improve their time management, for example. Now, the ZBS has its latest support package ready to go. Patrick Siegert spoke with Dr. Friedrich Arndt and Anna Mielich of the ZSB about the workshop “Study on – setting a daily study routine in unpredictable times” (“Study on – Studienalltag in schwer planbaren Zeiten gestalten”).

Get your headphones and microphone out and you're good to go. The Central Student Advising team recommends getting acquainted early on with the technical requirements for E-Learning to save added frustration later on. Photo: Antonioguillem/

Mr. Arndt, how is the ZSB’s offering being received right now?

Friedrich Arndt: The demand for workshops is high. We received more than 150 registrations in a very short time. Normally, it's around twenty. We needed to adapt our plans in order to deal with the rush. Now we’re offering workshops that we start online in individual groups. After that, the students find varied exercises, methods, and materials that we’ve created medially. By combining a live and directly communicated offering with delayed elements, we can allow considerably more students to take part in the workshops.

The “Study on” workshop is aimed at students who find it hard to structure their daily studies during the corona pandemic. What objectives are you pursuing?

Anna Mielich: It’s the first time many students have ever been confronted with a situation like this. Working in “Home Office” is a challenge, whether it’s in a dorm, a communal house, or even solo. Students often find it hard to structure their daily study routines and learning individually. With our workshop, we want to introduce participants to exercises and methods that will lighten the load in their everyday life. The students can also share their experiences at the workshop, because right now they’ve all got similar questions and worries: How do I plan my daily routine? How should I prepare for the new challenges? We’ll plan more Study-on workshops if they’re needed. We publish all the dates on the ZSB Homepage and on social media.

What do you actually do during a workshop? 

Anna Mielich: Study and work need to fit with daily life, including obligations, hobbies, and leisure activities. During the first session, we showed participants how they can use self-organization and time management techniques as an aid for creating an appropriate daily routine structure. The basics for that were exercises from student advising. These asked students to first assess their individual situation in order to recognize their own needs. In the second session, we introduced different methods to manage stress during daily student life. During the sessions, the students could use individual exercises and record their experiences in writing. Then, they sent us their protocols and received individualized feedback from us. In the last session, we took on students’ suggestions and open questions and discussed them.

“Study and work need to fit with daily life, including obligations, hobbies, and leisure activities,” says Anna Mielich. Photo: Jaro Ghasemi

What is going to change for students and teachers in the near future?

Friedrich Arndt: Students need their education to be a significant social space in which shared human experience is paramount. Currently, the structure of this space is altered, above all, because everyone involved has had to transition to contacting everyone online. Many instructors are dedicating themselves to the challenge with great commitment and are revamping their entire course concepts. The E-Learning Service Center of IT Services (RZ) is also holding webinars in which they explain how to implement digital learning scenarios. More than one thousand instructors at our university have already taken part in these training programs. We’re all heading for a digital semester with new formats for instruction and learning.

What tips can you give students at the moment?

Anna Mielich: First, be aware that you’re not experiencing this challenging situation on your own, even if you’re spending lots of time by yourself at the moment. Use the telephone and Internet to find people to share with and use the support and advice offerings. If possible, help others. Studies show that helps us deal even better with crises. On many websites you can currently find opportunities to do that, for example, online tutoring or speaking on the telephone with seniors.

Second, give your daily life a good structure with clear blocks of time for work and leisure. Don’t take on too much. Instead, plan enough time for breaks and relaxing. Make appointments with some of your fellow students to study together and share the content of your studies with each other. That also helps structure the day and makes studying easier.

Third, become familiar with the technical requirements of E-Learning early on. The fewer technical problems you have, the less added frustration you’ll have during the online semester later on.

“We’re all heading for a digital semester with new formats for instruction and learning,” says Friedrich Arndt. Photo: Jaro Ghasemi

Does a digital semester like the coming one also offer opportunities along with the challenges?

Friedrich Arndt: The coming summer semester will be unusual, but it can also be a success if people show solidarity, stick together, and remain open, in the ways represented in the idea of the university as community of learners and researchers. Everyone who’s taking part is going to have to get used to the circumstances and they’ll gain experience in working with new learning formats. For some, it will be a big challenge. Others will adapt more successfully. As a university, we will try to reduce adversity by offering support and special provisions. For example, in this semester, instructors are able to deviate from the set type of teaching and testing standards. Furthermore, we want to consistently implement digitization and promote the readiness of everyone to take on responsibility as we do it. Both issues play a major role in the future of our university and students.



Get in touch with Central Student Advising first on the hotline, which is open from Monday to Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at 0761/203-4246 or at and From there, contact will be set up with the appropriate advisor or an appointment will be made for a consultation.

Workshop: “Study on – Studienalltag in schwer planbaren Zeiten gestalten”

Central Student Advising