Frequent tests, as well as the expectation to complete internships and study abroad wee causing academics significant anxiety, a prominent German psychiatrist told the magazine’s website.
Rainer Holm-Hadulla said higher demands on students were taking their toll in all areas of their lives – even romance.
Many find they simply don’t have time, he said.
“After depression and a variety of anxiety problems, students are increasingly coming to me with problems with their partners,” he said, giving a recent example of a boy who, a day before he was to move in with his girlfriend, fell in love with another girl.
He said the changeover from guided learning at school to independent study at university was overwhelming for some students. Increased academic demands on time meant there was less scope for personal development and the pursuit of students’ own interests.
Such stresses were having a detrimental impact on personal relationships, he said, while academic experiences were also being narrowed by the demands of college.
“Everyone is expected to be more flexible and work faster but the short study period doesn’t leave a lot of time for experience abroad,” he said.
He said that ill health, the deaths of loved ones, financial worries and psychiatric issues also featured prominently among his patients.
And the global financial crisis seemed to be taking its toll, despite Germany’s relatively healthy economic situation.
“Students are generally occupied with the big issues facing society,” Holm-Hadulla said. “In the 1960’s it was the Vietnam war, then nuclear power and the environment. Today it’s economic crises and social uncertainty.”
“Objectively, precarious job situations have become more common. Many students start off with unpaid internships and very uncertain projects.” However the psychiatrist maintained that going to university remained a wonderful opportunity.