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Bullet Journals: What are They?

If you’ve ever been on Pinterest then you have seen the bullet journal tread come and go several times throughout the years but lately it has become an even bigger tread then before. I hopped on the tread a few years back but I never felt like I was ever good enough to continue to do it. But of course, when it became popular again I tried once again to join the Instagram worth journals like the ones I see come up. Of course, they did not look like all the ones I saw online so again I quit doing it before I even gave it a real chance. Then senior year of high school the tread came back and I challenged myself to try it for at least three months before I gave in, so I tried it and found out that it does have to be pretty and perfect, it just has to work for me, I mean that is the whole reasoning behind it in the first place. 

So, what is a bullet journal? By definition, a bullet journal is, “A journal used for personal use, such as a planner, art book, organization journal, and or a diary.” For me, that was a very broad definition; it meant a planner that I could design, but it was more than that. It is a planner that you can set up the exact way you want from by weekly or by the hour of each day. It can only be a tracker that can keep records of how much water you drank that day, or if you remembered to take your medication. It is also a great way to write down ideas, thoughts, and become more creative with how you express your self by drawing or different fonts. It is overall something I would recommend trying if you haven’t. 

A great way to start is by watching some youtube videos first, it does take a lot of time to set one up the first time and a lot of trial and error to get it a way that works for you. Start by getting a small journal that is just dotted not ones that have lines across the whole page or it will make it harder to draw out/ make it how you want. Look up some pictures online of different layouts that you think might work for you. Draw them out and test them out, if they don’t work the try a different one. 

If I could start over I would first start with making the index something that I’d actually understand, and not something that I just found a picture of on Pinterest that I thought was cute. Try to find an idea of what you want to do but don’t follow it exactly how it is because it might not work if you don’t remember the key by heart. Try not to get too caught up with making look perfect with the drawings, fonts, and titles. 

two yellow pillar candles with a bullet journal and art supplies
Estée Janssens

If you are like me and can barely draw a stick figure, then getting fun tape, stickers, and magazine cut-outs might be a better option than trying to draw and getting frustrated because you can’t make it out to look like the picture you are trying to copy. Another tip is just to use different color pens to make it look more creative and less black and white. remember it is not supposed to be perfect and try to keep that in mind it is only supposed to work for you and only you. 

However, if you are more on the creative side and can draw then go crazy have fun, make it as colorful as you can with little pictures all around it, have a set the theme for each month that all go together, use different pen sizes and markers if its thicker paper try even some paint. 

It is also extremely helpful if you are a working college student because you can not only keep track of all your grades, homework, and quizzes. You can keep track of office hours, tutoring, tuition payments, and other bills that you have done in the past month. This has helped me personally when I forgot about an assignment that was given at the beginning of the semester and isn’t due until the middle or end. It is also helpful to see just how much money you have spent and to figure out if you need to cut somethings out or if you need to start saving more. 

Having a digital bullet journal I have found works before for me because I have it on my iPad, which means I can type as well as draw on it and easily remove small mistakes without it taking up more time. If you already have an iPad or tablet the get good notes or notability, it not only great for school but also great for having a digital one that I can always have with me because it is also on my phone, rather than a physical one that you can forget and not have for the day. 

With all of that being set, if it just doesn’t work for you then just stick to a planner that is already all set up. The whole point of having a planner or bullet journal is that it is meant to work for you so set it up, and try different ways to ensure that it is actually useful for you and not something that just takes up your time. It is all about how you use it. 


Brenna is originally from southern California right smack in the middle of LA and San Diego. She is a biology major with a minor in psychology. She is a freshman and is super excited to see what God has in plan for her for the future. One of her biggest goals for the future is to try everything that she is scared of at least once.
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