They disappear for hours into their work rooms at the University library. Their faces are sometimes serious, sometimes cheerful. They're loaded down with books. Who are they and what are they doing? We decided to investigate and visited six students in their "study cells".
Text: Mark Brüggemann, photos: Daniel Schmidt.
I hope we're not disturbing you too much," we tell Claudia, who is sitting in her cell on this early Wednesday afternoon. "I just managed to close down my Facebook," she says, and laughs. Claudia is a student on the Renewable Energy programme and is writing her final paper in English titled "Impact Measurement of Rural Development with Solar Energy". "I spent two months in Ethiopia and conducted a survey there for my paper. I'm assessing the data now and will need another month," she explains. Firealem, who comes from Ethiopia and also studies Renewable Energy, has come to visit her in her cell for a quick chat.
We don’t need no education? Well that certainly doesn't apply as far as Irina is concerned. She is focusing on German didactics, or more precisely, the question of what expectations pupils have of textbooks. To find answers she conducted interviews with pupils from the sixth grade of a secondary school in Oldenburg. "Pupils of this age-group have never been asked for their opinion on textbooks before. It was really great to hear their opinions and advice," she reports enthusiastically. She aims to have her paper ready for submission in three weeks' time. She is happy with her cell, saying: "It's just a pity that it's too small to have the desk facing the window."
While it's freezing cold outside, the sun is heating up Migue's cell in the library's art and music section. "I am a bit surprised at how warm it is in here today," says the Venezuelan, who like Claudia and Firealem is studying Renewable Energy. His subject is the "environmental impact of the charging infrastructure in the eMobility sector". " I conducted a simulation and now I'm writing a research report," Migue explains. He has been coming to his cell every single day for a month. "Weekdays or weekend, it doesn't make any difference to me," he says, and smiles. But he usually finishes his work on the report in the late afternoon: "From 9 to 5 is my ideal working time." Darja, who studies economics, has put up posters in her cell -but only ones to do with her subject, of course. "The poster on the right shows the structure of my paper so I don't have to keep flipping between pages," she explains. "On the poster on the left I outlined the activities of energy suppliers." Darja has specialised in environmental policy and deals with the subject of "smart metering" in her Bachelor paper. "It's about intelligent devices that measure consumption levels and periods for gas, water or electricity in households and pass on the information," she explains. Darja, who comes from Estonia and has Russian roots, has been writing her paper since mid-November and settled into her cell in January. And what does she do when smoke starts pouring out of her ears? "Then I go outside or look at online shopping sites," she says. There are also cells in the rather isolated reading room for computer science. One of them is used by Friederike, who studies educational science. It's almost as warm in this room as it was in Migue's cell. "It's okay, I can just air the place every now and then," says Friederike. She doesn't like to have the bright red sun protection panel down for aesthetic reasons. This is the third month she has spent in the cell writing her Master paper. The title is "The Temporal Dimensions of Pupils' Everyday Life Taking into Account Subjective Feelings of Pressure". I'm on page 55 now and would say that I'm almost ready to hand it in," says Friederike. Katharina moved into her study cell just two weeks ago. "The first week it seemed very small, but then I got used to it," she explains. She says only here can she concentrate properly on her dissertation on business management: "At home I get too distracted. I get more done at the library." But she is not one of those students who is already shaking the bars at the entrance to the library at eight o'clock in the morning: "I'm mostly here between 12 and 8 pm."