Welcome to the University of Potsdam! Starting your studies means entering a new and unique world. A world with many unknown faces, jargon, routines, rules, and traditions. A world with many opportunities – that can be overwhelming at first. To clear these hurdles as early as possible, get you started on the right foot, and keep it all fun, we’ve compiled the web pages below with the most important information as well as a few pointers.
Dear first semester students, we would like to motivate you to take advantage of a vaccination offer as soon as possible. The reason behind this is that access to on-site teaching at institutions of higher education will only be guaranteed in the foreseeable future if proof of vaccination, testing, or recovery from COVID-19 can be provided (also called 3G or GGG status in German for “geimpft, getestet oder genesen”). There is still time to get fully vaccinated before the beginning of the instructional period. However, since this will take at least six weeks, we also want to urge you to get vaccinated as soon as possible, if you have not already done so.
One University – Three Locations
The city of Potsdam is large but not unmanageable. Although the University’s three locations in Griebnitzsee, Neues Palais and Golm are distributed along a line from the extreme east to the extreme west of the city, travel between them is relatively easy, for example with the bus lines 605, 606 and X5, or Regional Train 21. If you don’t want to miss your orientation event because you’re accidentally standing in front of the Neues Palais instead of Building 6 in Griebnitzsee, you should take a close look at the campus maps and maybe just come by your destination beforehand.
One Beginning, Several Important Deadlines
You’ve received a notice of admission to study at the University of Potsdam and have enrolled, so you’ve already had to meet a few important deadlines. It’s not over, though – the University calendar has its own special rhythm, especially at the beginning of your studies, but also during the entire course of your university degree. In order to avoid the problem of missing deadlines, it is best to start with the deadlines found here, which you should write into your own private calendar. You can also orient yourself to the deadlines for the coming semesters when doing your long-term planning.
One Course Schedule, More than 1,000 Questions
The attempt to build your course schedule alone and in isolation before you start studying is commendable, but in many cases this could lead to frustration, even though you haven’t even started on your degree. It is better to take advantage of the services available to first-year students and prepare for introductory events. There are regulations for every subject of study that describe which modules have to be completed, recommend the course of studies you should follow, and which other regulations must be satisfied. If you take a look at these regulations before the orientation events, and develop a draft plan for your course schedule, you will be well-prepared for the introductory event and can review your own plans there and, if applicable, ask questions. You can also work on your own individual course schedule in events with student advisors and mentors, who are experienced students from higher semesters.
Shared “Suffering” is Reduced “Suffering”
Just like you, there are lots of other first-semester students who are starting their studies in October at the University of Potsdam. And, like you, your fellow students have similar questions and are facing similar challenges. Wouldn’t it make sense to get together and work on overcoming these initial obstacles together? Do yourself a favor and talk to the person next to you – it could lead to a lifelong friendship.
Nothing Works Without Money
Studying at the University of Potsdam is tuition-free, but a certain monthly budget for housing, clothing, food and leisure time is still an important requirement for facilitating successful university studies. Whether you finance your studies with German financial aid (BAföG), a side job, your parents or grandparents, scholarships or student loans, is up to you; however, you can talk to the Central Student Advisory Service or the Potsdam Association for Student Affairs. Our experience has shown that more students receive financial aid than apply for it. Check it out and submit an application if applicable in a timely manner.
Studying and Having Fun – Is It Possible?
We’ve saved our most important tip for last: Successful university studies only works when you have enough mental and physical energy. In addition to your studies, think about yourself, your family and your friends.
The coronavirus pandemic and the overall situation it has created have an impact on all areas of life, and the University of Potsdam is no exception. The pandemic and the resulting regulations introduced by the state of Brandenburg have an enormous impact on teaching and studying at the university – there are movement restrictions on campus, advising and other services are only available on-site to a very limited extent, and last but not least, a large part of the teaching at our university will continue to take place online in the winter semester 2021/2022.
These restrictions will also have an impact on the start of your university studies: introductory events will in part take place in digital formats, tutorials and the services offered by the departmental student representative committees, which will provide you with support and guidance at the beginning of your studies, will also take place in different formats than usual so that hygiene and distance requirements can be met. These rules also have an impact on the other aspects of your studies: getting to know new friends, meeting fellow students and faculty, going to parties and having a beer at the bar. We know that this situation is not easy, especially for you as first-semester students, so we have put together a few tips & tricks here to help you get off to a good start in spite of everything.
Planning and Organization
In order to ensure a successful start to your university studies, careful planning and organization of the daily study routine are essential:
Goals and Priorities
At the beginning, there will be a lot of new things to take in. To stay on top of things, you should set attainable goals for yourself and prioritize.
Work Area and Learning Environment
At the moment, the university's rooms are only available to a limited extent, so you will have to study mainly from home for the time being.
Challenges and Resources
Online studies involve technical, organizational and social challenges.
Relaxation and Rewards
It is important that you take good care of yourself so that you can get through your first partly digital semester with motivation and work on your study goals with concentration. Recharge your batteries by including regular periods of relaxation in your daily and weekly planning. Keep your level of motivation high by treating yourself to small rewards for completed tasks.
If you notice that you have trouble finding your bearings with digital studies or if you have doubts about your studies, seek support:
If you feel uncomfortable after taking your first steps as a university student, if you feel overwhelmed by the online semester, if you feel homesick or if studying alone at home is a burden, we are always ready to listen.
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Phone: +49 331 977-1830