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TU students create opportunities and more educational equity

Between school stress, self-discovery and fears for the future - the teenage years can be exciting and overwhelming. Students at Chemnitz University of Technology support and accompany teenagers on their way to adulthood as part of the initiative "ROCK YOUR LIFE! Chemnitz e. V." on their way to adult life.

Educational equality is not a matter of course - not even in privileged Germany. Children and young people from socially disadvantaged families still have worse educational opportunities. This is precisely where the non-profit educational initiative “ROCK YOUR LIFE! Chemnitz e. V.”, which is one of the recognized student initiatives of the Student Council of the Chemnitz University of Technology. Since 2015, students of the TU have been available to students as mentors, offering advice and support helping young people to develop their personalities. After all, it's no longer just about educational work, but also about giving young people the chance to rock their lives in the truest sense of the association's name.

Those interested can volunteer. Further information is available by mail to chemnitz@rockyourlife.de. In addition, a regular’s table is held every first Monday of the month. More about this is also available by e-mail: chemnitz@rockyourlife.de.

Being close to people - promoting confidence in one's own talents

What is the idea behind the "ROCK YOUR LIFE!" program? With the support of volunteer and experienced mentors, students should be able to develop their individual potential. In practice, this means that a student at Chemnitz University of Technology accompanies his or her student as a mentor for at least one or two years. This includes support in school matters, but also psychological assistance with private problems. The aim is to prepare the adolescents for professional life and help them develop their individual potential. "Our school system is still very focused on natural sciences and languages. We want to encourage young people to take other talents seriously and pursue them," says psychology student and "ROCK YOUR LIFE" member Josef Schmidt.

To draw attention to itself, the Chemnitz "ROCK YOUR LIFE!" team, for example, regularly visits parent’s evenings at the Annenschule and Josephinenschule in Chemnitz, introduces itself as an initiative and offers help. Interested students can then meet with their potential mentors for matching: “You can think of it as speed dating”, says organization member Sarah Stammler, who is studying psychology in her master's degree at Chemnitz University of Technology. Schoolchildren and students exchange ideas and see if the chemistry is right. Because that's essential for the one-to-one mentoring program: “Our mentors sometimes see their students several times a month”, Stammler explains. “The young people have to trust and be able to open up. That's the only way to make a difference”.

The following case shows what close and thus effective bonds can develop between mentors, mentors and students: “One of our mentors looked after a really intelligent boy, but unfortunately he was very insecure and didn’t know where to go with him professionally”, reports Josef Schmidt. “Although he wrote excellent grades, he was told not to go to high school, let alone study. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of prejudice in some non-academic families. This was also the case with his parents: they thought that studying was not an option for their son, if only financially”. Within two years, the mentor succeeded in breaking down these stigmas and giving the boy more confidence. In the end, he even switched to a high school.  A successful contribution to more educational equality. It shouldn't be the last time.

For further information, please contact the team of “ROCK YOUR LIFE! Chemnitz e. V”. by Email: chemnitz@rockyourlife.de.

(Author: Isabel Möller / Translation: Sai Teja Paila)

Matthias Fejes

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