Combining student volunteering with your dream job

6:59 p.m. 30 seconds to go, then it's on air. The 19-year-old wipes her hands on her pants once more and runs a hand through her hair. 15 seconds. Finger hovers over the mixer, ready to press the button. And then the red light comes on. With élan she greets her audience on this Wednesday evening and starts the first song.


The dream of making radio comes true while still a student

Franziska Wehr, only called Franzi by her friends, is not only a student at the TU Ilmenau. Her big dream is to make radio one day. And she works towards this dream almost every day at the campus radio station "Hsf". She has already hosted over 50 broadcasts, and she is no longer nervous. "You're always a little excited. That helps, too. But actually you can't do too much wrong," says Franzi during a break from presenting. Right now, "Bartender" by James Blunt is playing. Her long brown curls are bobbing lightly to the beat and she is standing casually in front of the microphone. At the same time, she is reading through her next topic and chatting with her fellow presenter and fellow student.

Preparing for a broadcast takes three to four hours: putting together playlists, creating content and finding interesting topics - it's difficult, but worth it in retrospect.

But why radio of all things? After graduating from high school, Franzi applied for a traineeship in radio, unfortunately without success. She was influenced above all by her uncle. He works at WDR. She learned a lot about the business early on through his stories.

I learned how to give people a good start in the day, how to deal with language and how to bring something closer to other people," she reveals with shining eyes. "So being part of it, even though you're not actually not there.

Volunteering alongside your studies

It's 8pm. Franzi packs up her things and makes room for the next presenters. She slowly strolls out of the studio and greets all the other editors and members of the association who have joined her in the last hour. But it's far from the end of the day for the third-semester student. Because besides her show, there are many more things she volunteers to do at the station.

She explains on her way to the conference room, "In a minute, there's a radio meeting where all the members get together to find out what's going on and where you could go. At meetings like this, posts and playlists are distributed and the program for the next few weeks is discussed." Her eyes are tired. It's been a long day. The 19-year-old admits, "Most of the time you think to yourself, it would be nice if you could go home. But it's all part of it. It's important to get information and pass it on."

Balance through climbing at the Unisportzentrum

Keeping the balance between university and club work is not easy for Franzi. And not neglecting her second great passion is especially hard: climbing.

The 19-year-old, who comes from the Allgäu region of Germany, grew up surrounded by nature and the great mountains, enthusiastic about sports. At the age of 13 she started climbing for the first time. At the beginning she went irregularly to the climbing hall, but the Allgäuerin was quickly on fire for the sport. Three times a week she could be found in the climbing hall, until she even completed a trainer training on a voluntary basis.

This year, she obtained her C-training certificate in sport climbing and is still involved in her home section of the German Alpine Club - unpaid, of course.

Franzi looks longingly at the carabiner she's holding as if her life depends on it - literally. "I miss going climbing so often. When you go climbing, you've done your sport. You're not just climbing with your arms, you're climbing with your whole body," she says on this dreary Tuesday afternoon outside the climbing wall at USZ. "There's something liberating about climbing, and you're fighting yourself like that. If you don't make it, then it's usually not anyone else's fault either, but only your own."

In order not to have to give up her sport completely for the sake of her studies, she gives a climbing course every Tuesday for her fellow students.

If Franzi is already a professional, she still practices the basic technique with her class. We are only just learning how to lead. That's why the ropes are already hanging, we still have a back belay," she explains while watching her course participants with a watchful eye. With two double carabiners, called exes, and rope, they climb the way up.

Climbing the way to the top: that's Franzi's goal - and not just in sports. She already has good grades, and studying is not particularly difficult for her. The dream of one day being allowed to do radio is bigger than ever. Her voluntary club work is probably the best prerequisite for this.

Eva Seidl