You’ve probably been told that journaling is a good habit to get into when you’re in college. These are the years you’ll look back on and wonder, “What was I thinking? What was I feeling when this happened?” So if you’re wondering, yes, journaling is something you should definitely consider picking up.

According to the University of Rochester, journaling can help your mental health by “managing anxiety, reducing stress, and coping with depression.” It can also benefit your mood by “helping you prioritize problems and concerns and providing an opportunity for positive self-talk and identifying negative thoughts and behaviors.”

For those of you who are interested to try your hand at journaling, here are some tips from URMC on how to start:

  1. Try to write every day. Set 5 minutes aside each day to write a few things down.
  2. Don’t make it a chore, make it simple for yourself. Keep a small journal with you at all times, keep a document on your computer, or get an app.
  3. Write freely. This is your journal, whatever comes to you, jot it down. You have nothing to hide from yourself.
  4. If you don’t want to write it down, you don’t have to.

As an art major, I am frequently asked to keep a journal/sketchbook in my classes. We have to keep up with it too, as it’s a grade most of the time. I’ve found it to be quite helpful in the artistic process but also with general problems I run into every day. I’ve also started keeping a journal in an app on my phone. It’s called In a Year, and every day it prompts me with a random question. It’s fun to hit the ‘Throwback Button’ to see how I answered certain questions on certain days.

I also wanted to interview an avid journaler, senior Fiona Wirth, to see how it’s affected her thought process.

How often do you journal?

“A few times a week.”

When did you start journaling?

“In high school. Probably close to my junior year.”

How do you think it has benefitted you?

“It’s very relaxing and it helps me to organize my thoughts.”

How many journals do you have?

“I’d say close to ten. I go back and forth between journals. I have a multi-purpose journal, and then there’s usually a class journal that’s required. Each journal is different. They are each their own work of art. It depends on the journal’s purpose how long it takes to fill them.”

Do you have a system?

“I like to staple or glue things. Sometimes I sketch or draw. It’s just a free space to write or draw or anything, really.”

What are some tips you have for beginners?

“Don’t feel like you have to follow a guideline or that it’s something you should worry about. You should do it regularly. Begin by taking it out when you’re stressed, so you start to form a habit of it.”

Do you ever look back at old journals and smile because you wrote something down?

“Yeah. It’s fun to go back or see something and think ‘Oh, that’s what was happening a year ago.’ I thank myself for writing it down.”

A specific kind of journaling that’s completely taken over Pinterest is Bullet Journaling. Here are some ideas from Pinterest boards to inspire you!

Happy journaling!


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