Heading back to university soon? Here's how students can find their way back to campus. Source: Karen Ducey/Getty Images North America/Getty Images via AFP

Starting in the summer semester, universities are once again planning to hold classes in person. For many students, this is finally a positive outlook on studying as it should be: in exchange with fellow students, in the lecture hall and in the cafeteria, pure student life and parties.

But after more than four semesters of “learning light” on the sofa and within their own four walls, going to the university is no longer a matter of course for many students, and there is a certain hurdle to overcome and find the motivation to go back to campus.

Britta Ruhnau, Associate Dean for the Department of Business and Professor of Quantitative Methods at the University of Europe for Applied Sciences (UE), offers tips on how students can find their way back to campus:


Many students missed out on the traditional university learning experience when COVID-19 struck in 2020. Source: Cristina Quicler/AFP

Reactivate the memory of time management: Good news — days can now be structured again! The travel time to the campus must be properly calculated and scheduled, because others are also back to work and ended their home office. So the first pre-lecture can be enjoyed to the fullest and from the beginning.

Discover positive sides of studying on-site and set priorities:  Leaving the couch and heading out of the house to university has many benefits, as distractions become fewer. Whether it’s a game console or your own household, secondary activities become secondary again and are given their space outside the lecture day. Instead, on-campus activities, such as mutually inspiring study groups, move to the forefront. Making appointments creates an obligation to be actively present, and the competition in the group spurs on top performance.

Unleashing creativity and innovation as well as setting focus: A change of scenery gives new input to the brain, encourages ideas and creative work. Also, the focus on the learning content enables a deeper immersion in the student topic.

Personal exchange instead of initials in the digital team seminar: Finally, the interpersonal aspect is no longer neglected. The personal exchange with the professors also creates a closer bond with the university and the study programme. Even though many find digital teaching really good, the personal experience of studying on campus is once again different and for some actually a completely new – and rewarding – experience.

Some soft skills can only be learned in person: The world will remain digital and digital skills are important. For other skills, the campus provides the right environment with its different learning formats. Soft skills are, in addition to the theoretical knowledge learned at the university, also immensely important in everyday working life. While development is limited on the sofa, classroom situations in lectures, exercises and seminars as well as on-site presentations promote the development of skills for the job markets.