Electrical Engineering and Information Technology

Mentoring Whispers

Even in the online semester, you are not on your own. With the “Mentoring Whispers”, our mentors Christine Sander und Iris Heisterklaus hav compiled valuable tips to support you while studying from home.

Are you interested in an appointment for a mentoring conversation? You can find further information on the mentoring program of our faculty on our website.

Setting up the workplace sensibly – to increase concentration

Especially in times of online teaching, it is important to have a decent workspace at home.

For this, you need a desk that has sufficient incidence of light, preferably daylight through a window. If this is not or not sufficiently given, it is useful to install additional desk lighting.

The desk and its chair should be ergonomic and adapted to the user’s height. Working at the kitchen table, on the couch or in bed is not beneficial to concentration and is also physically stressful in the long term.

There should be order on the desk. Even if a genius masters chaos, it is still very distracting if you can hardly find your notepad because of all the stuff on the table and have to search every time to find your pencil, calculator or ruler.

The necessary material should be ready, so that you can find everything quickly and without searching. For this purpose, it is best to have everything you need ready at the start of the day. In addition to working materials, this can also include something to drink and a snack.

The workplace should also be in an undisturbed place. If you are constantly disturbed and interrupted, concentrated work is not possible. If you have problems with this, you can also read the article on the topic of interruptions to find a remedy.

Semester reflection at the end of the examination phase

At the end of the exam period, all you really want to do is switch off, forget everything and rest until the new semester starts. Thinking about the past semester is not something you want to do right now.

But now is exactly the right time to think about how things went.
What went well? You successfully stayed on the ball in all subjects during the semester, always knew what was going on and what was covered in the lecture, were able to keep up with all the exercises and passed the exam with flying colors? That’s great!

But most of the time this is more of a pipe dream and the reality is a bit different. Somehow you couldn’t keep up during the semester, the exercises were super difficult and before the exam you didn’t have enough time. And then the exam is not passed or the grade is not as good as hoped. Now think about what you want to do differently in the next semester and how you can go into the next exam phase better prepared.

You don’t really know why things aren’t going as planned? Contact the mentoring team and together we can see what we can improve and what you can adapt to get through your studies better. You can find more information at

(Deutsch) Abgelenkt? – Spezialproblem Smartphone

Sorry, this entry is only available in Deutsch.

Distracted? Interruptions, Noise and Things that Attract Attention

Interruptions are poison for concentration. After each distraction, the brain needs about 23 minutes to concentrate on the original task again. If someone is constantly banging into the room, all hell is breaking loose on the street outside the window and the phone is constantly ringing, it is difficult to work with concentration.
Interruptions can be caused by other people. Here it helps to go to a quiet place, lock the room and make it clear to everyone that no one can come into the room now. Phone calls can be deactivated using the cell phone’s flight mode.
If it’s always too loud, either earplugs or, if the silence makes you restless as a result, meaningless soundscapes that you can listen to with headphones will help. You can find many examples online.
Sometimes, however, you interrupt yourself with household activities that you “absolutely” have to do. Here it helps to go to a room where there are no such distractions.

Distracted? – Lack of concentration

Somehow things are not going well, you can’t concentrate, are tired, and feel that you can’t do anything at all? An analysis of the day can help here. At different times we are differently efficient. Pay attention to performance highs and lows in your learning and daily planning. The morning is good for concentrated work, at noon there is a small low, which usually falls on the waking half of the day, and in the afternoon there is another small high before the concentration drops in the evening. Try adjusting your daily schedule to match your performance highs and lows so you can benefit from the good phases in the best possible way.

Written by Iris Heisterklaus 

Distracted? – Fatigue and Overload

Are you feeling too tired and exhausted to study?
Fatigue usually comes from not sleeping enough. Have you ever tracked how many hours you actually sleep? Is this sleep also restful? When you’re tired, you can’t concentrate and you’re studying isn’t going anywhere.

You only get tired while studying? This may be due to a lack of breaks. Pay attention to the concentration curve! After 30-45 minutes we need a short (!) break of maximum 5 minutes to restore our ability to concentrate.

Ability to concentrate 

Our ability to concentrate decreases with time. After 30-45 minutes a short break of max. 5 minutes should be taken. This restores the ability to concentrate. After 4 blocks of work, a longer break should be scheduled.

Pomodoro technique

One possible method of implementation is the Pomodoro technique. There are numerous apps designed to implement this technique.

You do sleep enough and take breaks during the day? Maybe have your blood values checked by your doctor, sometimes a mineral deficiency can make you feel tired.
Maybe you are overwhelmed. Do you have many other commitments besides university? You might be able to delegate some of them to someone else or give up some of them in order to relieve your workload. Restful sleep is also important in order to be able to sit behind your desk with renewed energy. The following measures can help you get a good night’s sleep:

Written by Iris Heisterklaus

Methods of relaxation

You really need to relax – but don’t know how exactly? There truly are countless possibilities! To save you a lengthy search, our colleagues from the Central Student Advisory Service have compiled a number of relaxation methods and made them available to you in the form of video and audio instructions.

Have a look / listen! Just give it a try.

Find the videos on the website of the Central Student Advisory

Written by Christine Sander

Methods of activation

You’ve run out of steam while studying?

You’ve run out of steam while studying and are just hanging around?

Activation exercises can have a positive influence on your mood, increase attention and concentration, help you to take active breaks after sitting and working for a long time, and most importantly increase your energy level. The psychological counseling service of the student advice center has provided a few interesting exercises that, according to scientific studies, have a positive impact on concentration, attention, and well-being.

Whether it’s office jogging, finger qigong, or tapping: give it a try!

Find activation exercises on the website of the Central Student Advice Center 


Written by Iris Heisterklaus

Beat the Corona Winter Blues – The cinematic medicine cabinet

Movies can also be a good remedy. They make you laugh, they can relax you, some give you courage. They are a great contrast to your learning program.
So put your feet up, take out the popcorn, and enjoy a movie!




When your smile muscles need a workout
– Zootopia
– 25 km/h
– Welcome to the Sticks (Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis)

True stories of perseverance
– Hidden Figures
– Lion

Movies of great little heroines and heroes and friendship
– Belle and Sebastian (2013, N. Vanier)
– Moonrise Kingdom
– Isle of Dogs

Movies about passion for music that are guaranteed to get you off the couch
– Bohemian Rhapsody
– The Commitments

Simply wonderfully strangely beautiful
– The Grand Budapest Hotel
– Amélie

Last but not least: if you want to laugh about the chaos in your head (and understand it a little better)
– Inside out

And very last but not least: a hint to the true cinema professionals at RWTH: @filmstudio_rwth

What’s your movie tip?


Written by: Christine Sander