Is studying everything in life

Stress in studies: "I didn't see how it was all supposed to go"

He felt like he was in an endurance test and at some point could no longer: Philipp no ​​longer wanted to live. After therapy, he is now going back to university.


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It's been six months now. Philipp was standing on the roof and wanted to jump. Today he no longer knows whether the fear of pain or a residual will to live kept him from really doing it. Philipp is 25 years old, actually his name is different. So far he has studied mechanical engineering for a bachelor's degree in Berlin. He's sitting in his kitchen, staring at the wall and shaking his head. "I'm afraid of heights. So actually it was a weird idea to jump. But I haven't seen how it all works."

Other students feel the same way as Philipp does. Many feel burned out, suffer from depression, anxiety attacks, sleep disorders or stomach cramps. "Bachelor students who work alongside their studies are particularly often affected," says the psychologist Burkhard Seegers, who looks after students with mental problems in a counseling center of the Berliner Studentenwerk. If there is then a separation or a death in the family, the burden is no longer manageable for many. "A crisis can become existential so quickly. Then the danger of suicidality can emerge."

When Philipp could no longer do so, a friend took him to a psychiatric clinic, where he was placed in the closed ward. "I was given a lot of medication. In the beginning I slept a lot because of it." In two months he was able to spend the night at home alone for the first time. During that time, he received outpatient care in a day clinic. "There I met people who had similar problems. So I was able to deal intensively with how it all came about."

Students and health

Study by the TK

The Techniker Krankenkasse and Bielefeld University found in a study that students are healthier than their peers who work. For the study (2007), 3300 students at 16 universities in North Rhine-Westphalia were interviewed. The generally good state of health should not hide the disproportionately occurring mental illnesses. Of the drugs prescribed to students, 10 percent are antidepressants.

16 percent of the respondents said they suffered from depressive moods, 11 percent mentioned nightmares, 9 percent fears and phobias. 17 percent of the students suffer from gastrointestinal complaints, 40 percent have difficulty concentrating and 37 percent have shoulder and neck pain.

Social survey

The social survey of the German Student Union (2006) came to the result that 19 percent of the students suffer from damage to their health. This number has grown significantly since 2000.

Mental illness is reported by 9 percent of the male and 12 percent of the female respondents.

Study by PH Freiburg

A representative study by the Freiburg University of Education (2009) shows that 58 percent of students postpone work assignments. One in three complains of performance anxiety, one in five reports learning disorders.

The main reasons given by the interviewees were upcoming oral exams, written exams and deadlines for papers. Deficiencies in the organization of the degree and lack of clarity about the performance requirements also cause frustration.

How does he explain it to himself today? The fear of failure was great. A seminar project was so laborious that there was almost nothing else in his life besides this project. He neglected his girlfriend, gave up his hobbies and at some point could no longer switch off. Shortly before the end of the third semester, he handed in his thesis. "During that time I felt very close to the terminus," he says. In the same semester a new project began, five exams were due. Philipp felt how his strength to fight dwindled. He couldn't really concentrate on studying anymore, just thought about how he could do it all. It seemed to him that he was treading on the spot. "The workload has to be done in such a way that you can do it," he said to himself and catapulted himself into a vortex of self-doubt.

Homework, projects, exams - every step in the bachelor's degree is assessed and incorporated into the final grade. And this decides whether you get one of the rare master’s positions or not. "I felt like I was in a three-year long-term test," says Philipp. "A friend of mine graduated with a 1.4, but did not get a master's place."