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I Spent My Summer Journaling and I Can’t Stop.

Bullet journal, travel journal, writing journal, food journal. I bet that you have heard of some kind of journal in your lifetime, or even have a few of your own. Well, it seems now that journaling is becoming a new pastime, especially bullet journaling. I encountered it mostly during early summer when I saw a friend of mine whip out a journal while we were lounging outside, my brother’s girlfriend scribbled while my he read, and my mom started her own daily journal. I felt like I was missing out!

So, I started early summer by buying a small journal and marking up the first page with the date and some mindless doodles. I made a list of everything I wanted out of my summer. I did a couple more drawings, wrote a funny little note here, made a list there…suddenly, I was airing out my thoughts directly onto the page. I started to anticipate when I would get to write something down or do another doodle.

As the summer went on, I started to figure out why journaling was really working for me. I found that when you write down what happened you begin to process your day one event at a time. Like, if something upsetting happened, I would write it down and figure out why it bothered me. If something really upset me and I went to write about it, I would realize how little it probably was and how it shouldn’t bother me as much as it did. It’s a way of letting the bad go and remembering the good of the day.

Aside from processing my day, I found that it improved my memory and recall. Many of my professors attest to the magic of using a pen over a laptop for notes because it helps you retain information. When I write down my day, I remembered it better. My summer became more eventful and I can recall a lot of it in detail. For example, I did a lot of gardening this summer and from journaling about it I can remember the names of the plants that I grew and how they did. Trust me, I’ve always struggled with names, so this is a big deal.

One last benefit from journaling that I found was that it forced me to confront my habits. I would have to answer questions like: What time do I get up every day? What did I eat? Did I exercise? What did I do with my day? I had to ask myself these things as I wrote and I started to find the things that I regretted about my day, like the fact that for lunch I had a Klondike bar or I spent all day watching Friends. But I also found the things that I would take pride in doing, like that day that I worked out or cooked dinner for my friends.

Now, I am back at school, and I brought my journal. But I struggle getting myself to sit down and write about my day when I have spent it working in class and doing homework and other student-y things. Now, it is my school journal where I write all my random thoughts onto the page just before bed, as a way of voiding my head and being able to get a good night’s sleep.

If you haven’t tried journaling, I highly recommend it. It’s a way to make your life just a little better and you may even find something new about yourself!

Rachel Gibson

Augustana '22

Rachel is currently studying English and Creative Writing and enjoys reading classics, dreaming up fictional stories, and making lists of all the things she wishes she could do.
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