Tips about Studying at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

For some years now, I give new students of electrical engineering an informal introduction to studying at KIT. I believe some of these tips will be helpful to anyone starting here in Karlsruhe.

1. A book is too expensive for you? Ask the Library to buy it!

If it is ok for you to wait a few days for a book, you can wish for books here. Almost always your wish is granted within the next day, the ordered book is usually available after a week. If you need something faster, you can use the “Fernleihe”-System. With this system, a book can be ordered from any library in Germany. You will get your book in a few days and pay about 2€ for this service.

2. A lot of people are willing to help if you ask them nicely.

Whether you need a way a lecture hall or help on deciding on what subjects to pick other students usually are happy to help. If you have more specific questions or have any problems the “Fachschaft” (student council) of your subject should be your first contact. In the fachschaft there are volunteer students, who can not only help you with their personal experiences but also connect you with the right person. They do represent you in regular meetings with professors and cover for the interest of students in many bodies. Just keep in mind - all of the people working in the fachschaft get no money and offer any service voluntarily. So: Please be nice!
Also please say hello and thanks to the people at the mensa.

3. Things to do

Studying here at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology offers the benefit of a very active student body. For any topic you might think about there is a group. The full list of about 100 groups is available here. Whether you’re interested in the stock market, music, flying of helping others you will find something to do in these groups. Most groups are looking for new people and have regular meetings at least once a month, just contact them.

4. Culture

Karlsruhe offers a wide variety of cultural stuff to do. There is one main theatre (Badisches Staatstheater) and some smaller private ones (Kammertheater, Sandkorn).
The Z10 and AKK offer pub atmosphere combined with cultural events or live music. From Metal to cabaret, it’s free and completely organized by students.

5. Read the Rules

Once the first wave of information has passed over you, it is helpful to actually read the rules of your course of studies. The Studienprüfungsordnung (SPO) is the main bill of your course and controls all important facts. This includes what exams to take, when to enroll in exams and how exactly exams are taken.
You can find these at the website of your course but watch out there might be multiple variants depending on your starting year.

6. Enable Autoload in the Mensa

With autoload you never have to wait at the cashier machines again. Once your balance is under a specified value (e.g. 5€) a select amount will be added to your card drawn from your bank account. You can enable autoload at the “Skripteverkauf” in the Studentenhaus near the library.

7. Get cheap plants at the Botanische Garten

The Botanische Garten of KIT - which you probably never heard of before - often gives away some of the plants on a donation basis. You can just go there and check if they have any available.

8. How to get motivated and stop procrastinating?

I believe there is no one way to tackle procrastination. Every single person has to find their personal way, how they are most effective. There are books and books on these topics, but just to give you a hint to get started.

  1. Find your system of working and getting stuff done. You can try ToDo-List, Pomodoro Tracker, Bullet Journal, Blogging, Waking up early, planning each week in advance…
  2. Start with small steps towards the goal
  3. Set very specific (what, when, where and how) and realistic goals & deadlines
  4. Just get started
  5. Feedback yourself after the session/task done. How did you do?
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