uniaktuell The online magazine of the University of Bern

uniaktuell from 2015

The balance between new-found freedom and new challenges

On Orientation Day, the university was amidst the academic future. Introductory events and informational stands were on hand to help students steel themselves for their entrance into their university life. "uniaktuell" was on the lookout for voices and wanted to hear from the fledgling students whether there was anything they were dying to ask.

By Marla Eva Moser

Just as on Orientation Day in previous years, the newly matriculated students were first greeted in the auditorium of the main building by Rector Martin Täuber and Secretary General Chrisoph Pappa. Directly afterwards, the noise level in the university halls was unusually loud – countless first-year students strolled back and forth between the various informational stands in the building throughout the day. The mood was high-spirited and the students excited about this new chapter of their lives at the educational institute. Many admitted that they were also feeling a bit squeamish, but they were also looking forward to the coming challenge.

The joy of personal responsibility

In the main building, we encountered Lia Aeschlimann (20), Jill Hellstern (21), Jeanne Troxler (18) and Sam Badertscher (21). Lia Aeschlimann and Jeanne Troxler will see each other again soon in psychology lectures, Sam Badertscher and Jill Hellstern, on the other hand, are beginning studies in law – particularly because the Uni Bern enjoys an excellent reputation for this field. 

Sam Badertscher is especially looking forward to the individual responsibility that everyday student life brings and sees the challenge therein at the same time. He says, "It's just not possible to start studying the day before the test like we did at secondary school. It's really important to be on top of things." Jeanne Troxler agreed with him and explained that she also has the impression that short-term studying just won't be possible any more. Jill Hellstern also stressed the new level of personal responsibility and the freedom that goes along with it. She's happy to learn new things while organizing what has to be done and when for herself. "And that means as much as possible," she added with an arch smile. Lia Aeschlimann, on the other hand, is looking forward to having the structure that comes with a degree course. "Having a structured daily routine and doing something for my head again after taking a gap year will be great," she explained.

Together it will be easier

In the atrium of UniS, a group of soon-to-be medical students was lingering. Marco Barmettler (20), Severin Kilchmann (20), Luca Föhn (19) and David Strittmatter (19) aren't at all worried about the distance from their home towns. Marco Barmettler and Severin Kilchmann came to Bern from the Canton of Nidwalden, Luca Föhn is from the Canton of Schwyz and David Strittmatter from the Canton of St. Gallen.

This group is also looking forward to a new beginning and the promises of student life. Only the exams seem to inspire awe in Severin Kilchmann. Marco Barmettler, on the other hand, had a year's break from academics in the military and believes it will be an adjustment to get used to new structures again.

David Strittmatter emphasised the advantages of Bern although Zurich would have been nearer to his home town. "Bern is simply the better city. I like it here better. And the uni is more personable." At this point Luca Föhn added, "Bern is certainly cosier." For Severin Kilchmann, it it's the change of scenery that is important and says, "Both of my brothers go to uni in Basel, so I wanted to do something different." In contrast, Marco Bamettler followed his girlfriend to Bern and was also persuaded by the Uni Bern Informational Day.

When asked what his strategy is to get through university successfully, Marco Barmettler promptly replied, "We are not alone," he said as he looked around at the others, "and taking one thing at a time." For this statement, he received nods from his companions.