Paper light bulb

Having doubts during your studies?

Think things over and find your way forward.
Paper light bulb
Image: Designed by Freepik /

When things just aren’t going according to plan

Having doubts during or about your studies is very normal and not unusual at all. Sometimes doubts can even help to reflect on your situation and correct the course previously taken, if necessary.

But what to do if they don’t become less—or even more—after one semester? Then it is time to get to the bottom of the cause and try to think of a possible reason.

  • 1. What to do if you realize that you are having doubts about your studies?

    First of all, it is important that you acknowledge your doubts and deal with them in depth.

    Ask yourself questions like:

    • What are the things that play a role in my doubts?
    • What makes me want to stay in my subject? What keeps me in my studies?
    • What pulls me away?
    • Can I influence the factors that pull me away—and do I even want to? What exactly can I do to achieve this?

    For a first assessment of your own current situation, you can use the Student Self-Reflection Tool (SRT)External link. The tool guides you in analysing and reflecting on your own study situation in a structured way based on more than 20 factors. The assessment takes about 15 to 25 minutes. Afterwards, you receive feedback in the form of a PDF document, which you can bring along to a counselling appointment at the Central Student Advisory Service.

    Talking to a neutral person about your own situation, doubts or uncertainties often helps. That is why we encourage you to make use of the personal and open-ended counselling services offered by the Central Student Advisory Service or the subject-specific academic advisors de. You can see who your subject-specific academic advisors are in our Study Programme Database (select your subject and go to the contact information section).

  • 2. Who can I contact if I have doubts about or in my studies?

    When you are experiencing doubts, turning to others for help is often not an easy thing to do. Too often, you will be trying to sort things out on your own, though friends and fellow students can offer valuable support. It is often enough to be able to talk about problems. In this regard, your studies are no different from other problems in life. Here, parents and relatives can also be an important source of advice.

    If you prefer to seek professional help, there are many counselling options both at and outside the University. Professional distance often helps to get perspective on your situation. This can be very useful, especially when working out new solutions. Depending on the concerns, there are different points of contact, such as the Central Student Advisory Service, the subject-specific academic advisors de or different counselling centres at the student services organization External linkStudierendenwerk Thüringen.

  • 3. How can I make sure that the new decision is the «right one»?

    This question is tricky, because it usually only becomes clear in retrospect whether a decision was right or wrong. Nevertheless, even in the current situation there are criteria that make it possible to make the right decision. What is important is that you listen to yourself and above all focus on the subjective things. The new thing should suit you and you should feel good about it. Reasons that are supposedly objective and that speak against your feeling are often not well-founded and only of a prognostic nature. This does not mean that you should not inform yourself! Being clear about what you expect from the new is crucial. What is important is to check whether the information and visions appeal to you. You can only draw motivation from attractive goals that you want to achieve; and this motivation is essential, especially when it comes to treading new paths.

    One more tip: Don’t use your head to prove your gut wrong. It is actually easier to think about why the gut is right and why a decision is actually good.

    The Federal Ministry for Education and Research also supports you in identifying your optionsExternal link.

  • 4. How do I find out if university is for me?

    Many students ask themselves—sometimes even throughout their studies—if university is or was the right choice for them.

    Do you also sometime wonder if you are skilled and knowledgeable enough to study, or if a vocational training or an intermediate form (a dual study programme) would be better? There is no easy answer because every one of you has different prerequisites for studying. It can happen that the choice of a subject can have you question studying in general, even though the problem actually more rooted in the subject. Giving general statements about what skills and abilities you need for studying is difficult, especially because many competences can be acquired or improved during one’s studies.

    So the question is perhaps rather whether you are motivated to improve the skills and abilities you may be lacking and what ways there are to do so.

    Why not take a look at our course offer for students de? Talking to someone neutral, for example someone from the Central Student Advisory Service can help you get a clear picture of your situation.

Student standing in front of a wall
Changing your subject or transferring university
Clarify your doubts and find the motivation to move forward
Student with virtual reality glasses
When university isn’t right for you

Current news and tips regarding the topic

Bleistift dargestellt als eine Rakete
With these tips on exam preparation and how to organize your learning and writing process, you will easily navigate through the exam period.
Question mark
Wiebke Lückert from the Central Student Advisory Service explains in an interview how you can transform doubts into opportunities and how you can find out whether it's worth continuing your studies.
In episode 3 of the interview podcast, five students openly discuss the topic of ‘work-life balance in the online semester’: What challenges do they face and how do they deal with them? You can listen to a colourful mix of scientific findings, theoretical models and personal experience!
Two students preparing for examinations
Image: Katarzyna Bialasiewicz -
Thomas Klose from the Central Student Advisory Service explains how to manage your time as a student effectively.
Gesund studieren trotz Corona
Image: Thomas Fritsche
The University of Jena's Student Health Management provides you with tips and advice on how to get through the Corona semester in good shape. How do I keep a cool and relaxed head? How do I eat right so that I remain efficient and concentrated? And where and how can I expand my range of motion beyond my desk?
Studierende sitzen auf einer Couch
Image: Lightfield Studios /
‘CampusCouch’ is a service offered by psychology students to all students of the University. If you would like to talk to a neutral person about your worries, joys or problems during your studies, you are welcome to make an appointment with the CampusCouch team.
Central Student Advisory Service

Office hours:
We offer consultations in person, by telephone, and via Zoom. You can make an appointment by calling us on +49 3641 9-411111 (Mondays to Fridays from 9:00 to 11:00) or outside these office hours on +49 3641 9-411200. You can also use our remote help desk.

Consultation hours:
Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays (9:00 to 12:20), Tuesdays (14:00 to 18:00), and Wednesdays and Thursdays (14:00 to 16:00).

Video chat: Zoom – Video chat Videochat ZeitenMondays to Fridays (12:30 to 13:00) Password ZSB2020 Data protection informationpdf, 183 kb