Posts published on October 13, 2016

A Simple Path to Keeping A College Journal

By Pat Fredshaw

College is an amazing time.  You’ll make new friends, push your boundaries, and learn things that you’ll help you for years and years after you’ve graduated.  It’s also a place that can force you to face more stresses than you’ve ever had to before and that in turn can get your mind spinning in ways that inhibit your happiness and productivity.

And that’s why incorporating a journal into your day-to-day collegiate life is a great way to assist you in organizing your thoughts, overcoming obstacles, or to simply prioritize on paper what your values are so you can stay focused on what matters.

However, while it’s one thing to thing about starting a journal, it’s another to actually get started with it.  So if you need a little help getting going, have no fear.  Here’s a series of steps to bringing journaling into your life when you’re in college.

Find Yourself The Right Journal

Journaling is a very personal thing, so finding the proper journal or journals that inspire you to write is crucial.  You want a journal that’s not only a place to record your innermost thoughts, but also one that sparks you to do so.   One that excites you and visually reflects who you are so that you’ll be all the more motivated to stick with your new journaling habit.

With almost countless styles and designs out there, including plenty of inexpensive journals that you can design yourself, you should have no problem finding a journal that matches what you’re looking for.

Figuring Out Want You Want To Write

Being in college, you should have plenty of stimuli to work from and you could very well want multiple journals to help organize your varying thoughts and moods.  Each journal will then serve its own purpose which should make your writings as therapeutic and constructive as possible.  Here are some examples of things you can write about while you’re away at school:

  • Your life prior to college – While it might seem strange to focus on things that happened before you got to school, doing so can help you better understand who you are and help keep you grounded as you take in more and more college life experiences.  And when things start to feel a little too crazy or overwhelming, your writings in this will be something that you can go back to and reflect up to improve your level of calmness and feeling one with yourself.
  • Things You Feel Fortunate To Have – With thousands of students around you it can be really easy to feel insecure or even unlucky, and writing about the stuff you’re grateful for can help you keep a healthy sense of perspective and your mood elevated.  This shifts your mind to focusing on what makes you happy, thus knocking out worrying or troubling thoughts which can drain your energy and interfere with your schoolwork and social life.
  • Your Ideas – You can have cool and brilliant things bouncing around your head all day long, but if you don’t write them down it’s real easy for them to slip out of your mind forever.  Journaling about your ideas is not only an awesome way to get those flashes of brilliance down on paper but tapping into your mind’s creative side without having to filter anything is also an amazing way to release tension and generate a sense of calm.
  • Root Out Your Worries – Although there are sites like Essay Supply that are one of the best writing sites for help, between research papers, exams, labs, and just the stresses of dealing with life and other students, it’s pretty easy for nagging, worrying thoughts to sneak into your subconscious to start creating all sorts of disruptive havoc.  Thanks to journaling, though, you can stop worrisome thoughts from spiraling through your mind by getting them out in the open on paper.  This allows you to objectively look at what’s bothering you in a clear, calm light which can have a tremendous benefit for your sense of well-being.
  • Make Your Dreams Realer –  By creating a college journal for your goals and dreams, you take them from just being abstractions flowing in and out of your mind and make them much more concrete.  This lets you focus your power and intention on them so you can take serious steps toward achieving them.  Even better, once you accomplish what you’ve set out to do, you can look back at your journal to see where the road to success all began.

No Judgement

A key aspect of journaling is to just let the thoughts and words flow.  The last thing you want to do is to stifle yourself which will only spike your anxiety and defeat a major purpose of journaling in the first place.  Put on some relaxing music if it helps you.  Shut off any distractions.  Breath deep.  Remember, journaling is a tool for getting in touch with yourself and is for you and you only.  You might sometimes be stunned at what you put onto paper and other times you’ll be amazed, but as long as you’re not blocking yourself you’ll find you have plenty of insightful, uplifting moments.

Pat Fredshaw is a freelance writer and contributing blogger from Oakland who works for Essay Supply and writes her own book. Her articles related to such areas as blogging, psychology, personal growth, and education.