Dr. Stefan Janke, Dipl.-Psych.

Dr. Stefan Janke, Dipl.-Psych.

Current job:
Academic staff member at the University of Mannheim

Studies in Mannheim:

Highest degree:


During my degree program in Psychology, I worked as a research assistant at GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences. Right after my graduation, I started to pursue a doctorate. In 2016, I completed my doctorate and have been working since as an academic staff member at the University of Mannheim. I also taught at the University of Basel over the period of one year. Meanwhile, I am running two research projects of my own and, together with my team, focus on academic dishonesty and on the significance of motivation for academic success.

Tips for starting your career

A university education—especially in psychology—will offer you a wide range of career options. For example, psychologists can later work as psychotherapists, in consultancy companies, in HR, or as data scientists, making use of their statistical knowledge. In many cases, career paths do not follow a straight line. For example, when I started my bachelor’s program, I never thought that one day I would pursue an academic career. Try to think of your studies as an experiment. Your studies give you the opportunity to focus on different subjects and to try out different fields of work through internships or working student jobs, for example. As career interests can change over time, it is advisable for prospective students to focus more on course contents rather than on career options when choosing a degree program. Try to think about what really interests you and what you would like to learn in the next years. Try to find degree programs that make you curious. Then, find out what subjects and skills are covered in the respective degree programs. Over the next three to four years, you will have enough time to become acquainted with the content of the program you have selected. If you are passionate about the subject, you will enjoy spending time on it. Your studies will be an exciting time of personal growth that you will enjoy looking back on. However, if you already feel little joy when applying for a degree program, you might face a difficult and maybe even unpleasant time. This might even affect your entry into professional life as motivated students are more likely to effectively communicate their enthusiasm about their field of study to future employers. In sum: do not just focus on possible career paths but satisfy your curiosity.

Relevance of the studied program

My studies at the University of Mannheim paved the way for an academic career as it allowed me to look further into questions of Educational Psychology and develop methodological skills. However, the program has a lot more to offer. Module plans, study regulations, and examination dates can sometimes block the view of the opportunities a degree program has to offer. Studying at a university represents a unique period of life in which young people are given the opportunity to discover new things, including their own talents. However, you will often make the most important and beautiful experiences along the way. Whenever I was offered academic freedom, I took advantage of it. This way, studying was not reduced to only working off modules but rather felt like an actual journey. Since each person knows best what they want to discover, I can only make suggestions on how to organize your studies: did you hesitate between two degree programs before making a decision and are now afraid you will not be able to pursue your interests in one of them? Just attend a lecture of the other program incognito, even if you will not receive any ECTS credits. Just listen to what there is to learn without feeling pressured by an upcoming exam. And if you do not have enough time anymore, you can just stop going there. You are at the start of your studies and would like to feel more involved in campus life and make new friends? Attending a meeting of a departmental student committee or a political student group may be just the right thing for you. You are not sure if you will fit in? Just give it a try for a couple of weeks and if you do not like it there, look for something else. The University of Mannheim has numerous student organizations that bring together people who share the same interests. You are in the middle of the exam period, but you cannot stand the sight of books anymore? Take a break and go to a party with your fellow students—despite or even because of the exam period. It is important to create a balance, and the friendships you make at university will later play a much more important role than the grade you achieved in a single exam. In the end, you should think about how you want to remember your time at university in ten years. Do you want to remember it as a time when you gained a lot of experience, learned new things about the world and yourself, or do you want to remember it as a time when you worked off modules in no time? Because in ten years, you can no longer change the course you took during your studies. The time to set the course is now. What slogan should your studies bear: discovery or Transcript of Records? My recommendation: think of what is best for you and organize your studies according to your own terms.

 Last updated: February 2023


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