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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Emerson chapter.

I always justified my choice to avoid journaling as simply not wanting to make time for it. With schoolwork, activities, and friends, who has the time or energy to write ferociously about their day and the thoughts on their mind before they go to sleep? But I don’t think that was really the problem.

Coming to terms with your emotions is no easy task. I consider myself to be someone who is fairly intuitive. I can usually tell when my friends are upset or need my help, and I can do the same for myself: the catch is that I don’t usually listen. 

I question how I’m feeling internally all day long, probably because I’m a very anxious person. If I have one slightly strange interaction with someone, I think about it for days. When there are bigger emotions like uncertainty in my life or my relationships, I overthink them a lot too, but I try to rationalize why I must be wrong. 

If there is an issue that I wish didn’t exist, I try to talk myself out of the reality of the situation, and I certainly don’t write about it. If I write those ideas down instead of guarding them inside my head, they become more real, and I have to deal with them. 

I promised myself that I would journal consistently once I arrived at Kasteel Well. I didn’t want to study abroad without documenting all of my adventures and feelings in those moments. So as soon as I arrived here, I got to it. I wrote down my daily schedules, my thoughts, poetry, and even tarot card readings, whatever was on my mind. And it helped. 

Journaling gave me a way to put my emotions somewhere else, if only for a little while. I now look forward to dumping everything into my journal and closing it at the end of the night, knowing all of those thoughts are safe somewhere, but I no longer have to keep them with me. 

I have journaled every single night here, and I’m proud that I have been able to be honest with myself. For so long I have been avoiding my emotions in an attempt of self-comfort, but it never worked. I just felt more confused and upset.

Now I can go back and reflect on exactly what I was feeling in the moment because it is written down. I have the facts in front of me, and I can make sure I don’t cloud my own judgement. 

Journaling has also given me a space to be creative and reignite my love for writing. I’m learning more about myself through my own thoughts on the page. I document my time meeting new people and traveling to new places and finding myself. I’m excited to look back at the journal years from now and remember how I felt being here.

I’m not saying that journaling will solve all of your problems, but for me, it was a good start. I feel more connected to myself and my emotions, and I am ready to continue to grow on my path of self-development. 

Maddie Browning is a senior journalism major with environmental studies and publishing minors at Emerson College. She is a freelance writer for the Living and Arts sections at The Boston Globe. Browning covers music, comedy, books, travel, romance, and fashion.