Radboud University

Student story: Martin - Bachelor's student in Psychology

Martin Wimmers, a German psychology student at Radboud University, shares his thoughts on his programme, myths about psychologists, climate change, art and more.


Martin Wimmers, a psychology student at Radboud University

Nowadays it’s not uncommon for people with various backgrounds to start reading psychology books. Some read to better understand themselves and get inspired, others do that to function in the workplace or for leisure.

Reading such books was one of the main reasons why Martin Wimmers decided to study  psychology. “I learnt more about myself and society. Besides studying about roles individuals take in groups and factors that influence human behaviour, I opened a door to a new level of self-awareness”.

There is a common misconception, especially in the media and popular culture that psychologists can read or manipulate people. “If someone made an angry facial expression during a conversation with you, you’d probably think that you did or said something that made them angry, but it could also have been the case that they remembered something that made them angry”. Martin explained that psychologists are more attentive to details of behaviour, but they cannot guess the reasons behind it.

When asked to come up with a profile of a typical psychology student, the first thing that Martin said was a bit crazy, but in a good way. He thinks psychology students have their own type of quirkiness because they tend to be everywhere and are open to trying new things.


Martin in a mysterious environment

Martin likes that his programme is building up on itself.“In Germany, it felt like we were getting random courses and it was on the student to try to make sense of it, but here the logic was clear from the very beginning”.

His favorite subject was Behaviour and Environment which answers questions like: why do humans have attitudes? How do they develop these attitudes? And,why do they continue having or change them?

“I think it’s really important to change opinions in life because otherwise, you cannot improve yourself. We want to live longer, but it would be impossible if we didn’t adjust our behaviour to the environment”.

Martin gave the example of climate when speaking about our need to be in line with the environment. “I understand that I’m not perfect, and not all my actions agree with the aim to stop climate change, but I do my best. It’s up to the young generation to handle the world at the moment and not to make it worse than it is for future generations”.

Martin was one of the first volunteers of the Radboud Green Office, an organisation that wants to make the campus more sustainable. He helped them with content creation, something that Martin had been doing since he got his first camera at the age of 12.


Martin in one of the bookstores of Nijmegen

Why didn’t you go to a Film Academy?” is a question that Martin gets a lot. Art for him is something that he prefers to do for himself. If he enrolled in a programme on photography or film making, there would be an external pressure on him requiring to perform in a certain way. He did not want to be pressured to do art. It is something he wants to explore himself.

“There is a difference between skill and talent. Talent is something that you gain in life, and it depends on your upbringing and the environment, whereas skills can be mastered. Everybody has a talent, but some do use it and others don’t”.

Martin considers photography a skill. His real talent is staying calm while being proactive.  It helped him when he was organising Symposium Synesthesia, an event that acted as a platform for young photographers, filmmakers and comedians from Nijmegen to share their art.

The first Symposium Synesthesia was held at the end of May, a quite stressful period, especially for first-year students like Martin. “Although my academic performance suffered a bit, I’m glad I did it. We expected around 40 people to attend the event, but actually over 150 people showed up”.

Video from Vox about Symposium Synesthesia.


We took a nice walk in the city centre of Nijmegen with Martin

“Nijmegen is a lovely and compact city where you have everything in one place. It’s not too big, so you can get from A to B really easily by bike. The student community is nice, it feels like a young city, although it’s the oldest one in the Netherlands.”

Martin is not the type that sits down and reads textbooks the whole day. He thinks that doing different things on the side is a valuable experience. To those who plan to come to Nijmegen for studying, he suggests to be open and not be afraid to get out of their comfort zone.

“Better go to the party and meet new people even if you don’t know anyone there. You can sit at home the rest of your life, but going out and seeing different people does not happen as often”.

He also encourages doing things besides homework. “Do different activities and projects. You never know what will come out of it. Better make a stupid decision and learn it doesn’t work than not make that decision and keep thinking about it for the rest of your life”.

Author: Knar Ohanjanyan