Especially when starting your semester at FS and it is your first university experience, everything will be quite overwhelming: a new city, new classmates, new courses and a new structure. To give you some guidance on how to get started, I’m sharing my 5 biggest learnings with you after three years of studying in the Bachelor’s programme at FS.
Socialise – You might be new to university and Frankfurt and therefore initially feel lonely. However, you will quickly meet other students from various semesters during the orientation week through events and initiatives.
Stay open-minded – FS is known for its diverse student body. By engaging with everyone, you can gain new perspectives and build your own connections within the FS community.
Network your way – There are many events and opportunities at FS where you will have the chance to network with business leaders, experts and people of interest. By being open to new people, you can network in the way that works best for you.
Exams are around the corner – After starting your first semester there is so much going on that most students forget about this one thing that happens at the end of the first quarter: EXAMS! They arrive much quicker than expected, so make sure to start studying in time (3 weeks before worked for me), especially because studying for university exams might differ from your prior school study methods.
Adapting to university – Studying at FS is different from school life so it helps to concentrate on your studies right from the beginning to get into university mode. By attending courses and doing all exercises, you make sure to have a good head start. Yes, discipline is needed, but which time would be better than the first semester to get disciplined?
Studying and working – If financially possible, my advice is to first focus on your studies before seeking job opportunities. While you can work beside your studies as a working student, internships are reserved for the summer months and doing them alongside your studies can be stressful. By giving yourself some time to get settled, you will know which areas are interesting for you so that you can target job opportunities which you are passionate about.
Join FS student initiatives – you will find students with similar interests and people from other tracks, intakes and courses. There is an initiative for every hobby and interest, some are career-focused (e.g. FS Student Consulting, FS Invest) and others are just for fun or sports (e.g. FS Women Soccer, FS Arts, FS Chess, FS Charity). There are many ways how you can take over responsibility and show participation to shape Frankfurt School and its community life. For example, you could become the (department) head of an initiative so that you are responsible for all activities during the semester. To raise your voice, you could also become a class representative to give direct feedback to university staff on behalf of your class or become a member of the Student Council.
Use mentoring offered by FS – When I started studying, I had no idea what mentoring is and why one would need it, but trust me, it is so helpful! Especially when starting your career path and you don’t know which areas interest you, mentorship can help in finding out one’s interests, ambitions and targets through 1-to-1 mentorship sessions – and it’s great for networking, too.
Take advantage of FS services – If you are looking for advice and support regarding the first steps into the professional world, then contact Career Services. If you are interested in external scholarships from foundations or ways of financing your studies, then make an appointment with the educational advisory service. And if things are not going so well and you need professional help, a counselling service is offered. All these offers are available free of charge.
If it’s not in your calendar, then it’s not going to happen – Regardless of only having several lectures per week, working beside your studies or having other activities keeping you busy: a calendar is always worth it! There is so much offered and to do at FS, at companies and of course in your private life that it can easily get overwhelming. Therefore, it’s a good idea to enter all lectures and events in your calendar and schedule realistic study times. This will help you stay committed and develop a realistic assessment of time.
To-do lists – No matter which app or method you choose, a list helps to get a good overview of all tasks and not to forget anything, preferably with estimated times for each individual task. This way I also learned that time is a matter of priority and if to do’s get too much, I rather say no to some projects. No one can juggle all the balls at once, so the focus should be on what’s important to you.
Find your way of managing time – There are many approaches on how to manage time, manifested in dozens of books, podcasts and articles. So for me, it worked to experiment with different approaches to find out what suits me the best and is most efficient.
Explore – Your life is not decided in the first semester of your Bachelor’s and you don’t have to find your career path and purpose in life throughout the first semester. You don’t have to limit yourself to one direction, i.e. Investment Banking but you can take your time to explore different areas within career opportunities and your studies. This way you can learn a lot about different industries (consulting, banking, politics), professions and personalities.
Frustration is normal – It’s okay to not know exactly where you’re heading sometimes, personally, academically and career-wise. Studying is a path that you gradually build. It might take unexpected turns and it is important to acknowledge that frustration is as much part of it as success.
Breaks are crucial – Don’t forget to take breaks throughout your university time. FS Is not just for studying but also for exploring Frankfurt, hanging out with friends and developing your personality and career. Your studies are not a competition on who collects more jobs or gets better grades – it’s about your journey of growing personally and academically.
Thanks for reading and I am looking forward to seeing you soon on campus!