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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Bradley U chapter.

I have been journaling consistently for over four years, but my journey began about eight years prior to then. It all began when I started reading the “Dork Diaries” series in first grade. “Dork Diaries” is a series about the life and adventures of a middle schooI girl named Nikki. What made this series special was that the books were written as if Nikki was the one journaling. I thought that Nikki was so cool for writing in a journal, and it made me want to do the same. Just like every first grader in 2011, I begged my mom to take me to Justice. It was there I got my first ever journal, a fuzzy zebra print journal with a pink “E” on it.

I brought that journal everywhere with me — to school, to the store, to the park. I wrote about every little thing that happened in my day-to-day life. That lasted for a little while until I got bored with it. But every time a new “Dork Diaries” book came out, I was re-inspired to start writing again. This lasted until around fourth grade when I stopped reading “Dork Diaries.” For many years after that I tried to get back into journaling, but it never stuck. I would write for a few days, and then forget about it. It wasn’t until sophomore year of high school that I started journaling consistently again.

The beginning of sophomore year was a very overwhelming time for me. I was taking challenging classes while trying to balance everything else that was going on in my life. There were so many thoughts and emotions trapped in my head, and it was taking a toll on me. That September, I was cleaning my room and found a journal that my grandma had given me a few years back (not a Justice one — thankfully). I heard about the benefits of journaling, but was a little nervous to start. The only journaling I had done in the past was writing about events, not feelings. I was worried that I wasn’t going to reap the benefits, but I decided to try anyways. Every night for a week I would write before I went to bed. I would write about what happened, but also how I felt that day. I wrote about what I could do to solve any challenges I was facing, or just anything that was on my mind. I told myself I was going to write for a week, but it’s four years later and I am still writing.

These past four years of journaling have brought me more benefits than I could have imagined. Writing helps me to get all of the worry out of my head, and onto something tangible. I am not perfect at keeping this journaling practice by any means. Like everything, there are ebbs and flows. In 2022, I filled eight journals. Wheres, this year, I am only on my third journal. While it may not be something I do everyday, I know I can always rely on journaling as a tool to help me process my thoughts and emotions.

Emily Nelson

Bradley U '26

Hi! I'm Emily Nelson and I'm a freshman user experience design major at Bradley University. I am a big fan of books, movies, yoga, and cats. I can't wait to share my thoughts and opinions with others!