Problems at University? Time for a Change?

© Oliver Easton / Unsplash

Many students have doubts during university. They may experience writer’s block, learning difficulties or communication problems with fellow students and/or lecturers, or may simply find it difficult to motivate themselves. Perhaps the degree programme is nothing like they had imagined, or students realise they are not so interested in the topics after all. Private problems can also affect students’ progression at university. Doubts may arise for a multitude of reasons.

If doubts linger or keep coming back, it is worth taking a deeper look at the reasons why so that help can be obtained early on. In this way, doubts can be a valuable catalyst for bringing about change. The links on this site connect mostly to information that is provided in German only. If you have any questions, please use the contact box below.

Problems at university – What can I do about them?

Step 1: Talk about your doubts or problems

If you have recurring doubts or problems at university, pluck up your courage and seek support. It may initially take some effort to talk about your feelings, but you will soon find that you are not alone with your questions.

Step 2: Get to the bottom of the causes

To be able to bring about positive change, it is important to become aware of the roots of your dissatisfaction and doubts. Sometimes they are relatively obvious. But other times, the reasons are not apparent at first sight, and tend to be vague or subconscious.

You can find initial opportunities for self-reflection in our brochure How to Approach Doubts About Your Studies.

Brochure: How to Approach Doubts About Your Studies

Heidelberg University currently offers a general online self-assessment tool for students who are having doubts about their studies.

Leibniz University Hannover (LUH) also offers support and counselling formats for questions and problems that arise during your studies. Below you can find out who you can contact with which questions.

Who can I contact?

Step3: Sound out your options. What options are open?

Students with doubts about their university studies often feel like they are stuck in a rut. In most cases, however, a wide range of options are open to them:

Step 4: Make a change: yes or no? How do I make the right decision?

What can help me with the decision-making process?

  • Decision-making processes need time. It is absolutely normal to initially put out feelers in different directions and to feel uncertain about things. Be sure to take your time to decide, and set yourself a realistic deadline for when you want to make the decision.
  • Find out as much information as you can – but remember that it is impossible to consider all aspects in advance.
  • If you are finding it difficult to come to a decision, make use of the support services.
  • Never make an important decision when you are in a poor state of body or mind. Your health is more important. If in doubt, seek medical or psychological assistance.

Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation


Motivational psychology divides the reasons for our actions into internal (intrinsic) and external (extrinsic) motivation factors:

Intrinsic motivation

I do something for the sake of it :

  • because I enjoy doing it.
  • because it appears meaningful to me.
  • because it interests me and arouses my curiosity.

Extrinsic motivation

I do something because of external inducements such as:

  • good pay.
  • a high standing.
  • my social environment expects it of me.
  • anticipated job security.

Ideally, both intrinsic and extrinsic factors should play a crucial role in your decision-making. Things can often become problematic in the long term if extrinsic factors clearly outweigh intrinsic factors, if there is no intrinsic motivation at all, or if a decision based on intrinsic factors leads to major conflict in the external environment.

Support services

Leibniz University offers various support services and contact people for students who are unhappy with their (study) situation.

Key skills and more 

Do you need support with learning, preparing for exams, time management and self-organisation, presentations or academic writing? The ZQS/Key Competencies team is happy to help by providing personal advising, seminars and workshops.  

Learn about studying at Leibniz University Hannover on social media:

© Zentrale Studienberatung / LUH
Student Advisory Services
Our Student Advisory Services will be pleased to assist you! Contact us via phone, e-mail or in person!
Welfengarten 1
30167 Hannover
© Zentrale Studienberatung / LUH
Student Advisory Services
Our Student Advisory Services will be pleased to assist you! Contact us via phone, e-mail or in person!
Welfengarten 1
30167 Hannover