Journaling for the Busy Collegiate

Whether you have five minutes or half an hour, there’s a journaling technique for you.


If you ask any alumna for some words of wisdom about making the most of your college years, chances are he or she will advise you to capture as many memories as you can – even the quotidian memories that come to feel like routine. Four years fly by, and once they’ve come and gone the only ties to that fleeting chapter of your life will be from the moments you’ve amassed. Of course, there are Snapchat memories, Timehop notifications, and other technological forms of hitting rewind on your favorite memories. These are always good for a laugh, but don’t necessarily provide the full picture of what was going through your mind at any given time – what were you thinking about? What were you struggling with? What did you really think about yourself, about your friends, about life? Collegiates, if you really want to preserve the juicy stuff from college – i.e., the wild and fascinating inner machinations of your mind – journaling is the way to go.


Of course, an issue that afflicts many Bucknellians is a dearth of free time. Journaling can seem like a huge undertaking that will add an extra layer of stress to your sufficiently-hectic daily routine. That doesn’t have to be the case! Below are some simple, rule-free suggestions for keeping a regular log of your thoughts, memories, and ideas. The best part? They can be adapted as much or as little as you want!



Line-a-day journaling. For the collegiate who wants to sum up their day before hitting the hay, consider a one-line-a-day journal. Each evening, jot down the date and one sentence to describe your day – the most interesting thing that happened, your current project or goal, or your general state of being. If you would prefer a little more guidance, you can purchase a question-a-day journal that prompts you with a brief, yet thought-provoking question each day of the year.



Self-check-in grid. A good way to keep tabs on your mental health is to draw a grid in the front of a journal with one small square for each day of the year. Create a color code of possible moods, and fill in each square on the grid with your dominant mood of the day. If you feel the need to elaborate on a particular day’s mood, there is space in the succeeding pages onto which you can tease out your feelings.


In and Out journaling. Hearkening back to the days when the Clique book series was popular, you can consider following in Massie Block’s footsteps to create an in-and-out list for each day. “Ins” would be high points or achievements of the day, and “Outs” would be stressors or unpleasant moments. Putting all of these factors down on paper is a healthy way to acknowledge what you’re going through on a daily or weekly basis, and could even provide you with some perspective in the long run (i.e. things that once caused you a lot of stress that you no longer dwell upon).


Dream journaling. This type of journaling is great for the collegiate who wants to start her day with a little bit of self-reflection. As soon as you wake up, jot down what you remember from your dreams the night before. If you believe that dreams manifest your subconscious thoughts, you might even consider acquiring a dream encyclopedia to gain insight on what your dreams are trying to say.



Gratitude journal. Each day, write down the things or people for which you are particularly grateful. This is a great way to end your day on a high note, not to mention encourage you to show more love to the people who are there for you. The format, of course, is entirely up to you.


Secret Instagram. Sure, most of us have an Instagram account, and many, too, have a “finsta” account. But for the tech-savvy collegiate, a secret Instagram journal may be your new best friend. You can use this account to post photos and craft captions that express your most personal thoughts and experiences, but in a setting that only you can see (because let’s be honest, no matter how “real” finstas are supposed to be, they always have to carry a tinge of embellishment). The key to this type of journal is to follow no one and accept no followers; you should only be maintaining it for your own sake.


Whatever your inclination, you can’t go wrong by trying some form of journaling. The bottom line is to start as soon as you can – before any more precious memories go slipping away!