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UZH Journal

“Red lights gave me permission to take a break.”

Porträt Steineck

Raji C. Steineck, Japanese Studies Professor

“The most nerve-wracking experience during my studies were my Master’s exams. I had to take several oral and written exams on specific areas of focus in every subject – a huge undertaking. That was the time in my life where I had the most amount of knowledge in my head at once. It was then when I noticed how great streetlights actually are: If they’re red, you have no other choice but to take a break. When I started studying I decided, as a matter of principle, to have one day a week as free as possible in order to clear my head, socialize and take a break from university for a bit. Today I am an examiner myself. I make an effort to clearly communicate in advance what students can expect on the exam. For written tests, I try to get students started off on the best possible foot. This can be done, for example, by asking questions that they will definitely be able to answer if they engaged with the material at all. If I notice during an oral exam that someone is nervous and feels uncomfortable with a question, I don’t keep drilling them on it but instead go to the next question. Basically it’s also much better for examiners if the exam goes well.”