I can honestly say that my closest confidante for the past three years has been my journal. When I first left the comfort of life at home and came to Holy Cross, journaling became my outlet. During this transitionary period, I especially struggled to balance the dichotomy of my emotions. I was so excited to finally become independent at a school that I absolutely loved, but I also longed for the security of my family and friends back at home.
As I struggled to adjust to my new environment, I began writing almost daily. I filled pages upon pages with rambling stories, complaints, and successes. I found that by recording what my life was like day to day, I could look back upon the weeks and months with a gentle acceptance of myself and my emotions. Over time, I started to realize that I was changing for the better. Releasing my anxieties onto the page had stopped me from lashing out in other unhealthy ways. When I was finally able to translate my emotion into words, I felt that I was better able to understand my own personality.
I don’t only write about the bad stuff, though. If I’m excited about an accomplishment, no matter how small, I aim to record it. I’ve found that looking back upon the small wins allows me to realize how lucky I truly am. Although, at times, I feel anxious and overwhelmed, remembering the little victories always helps me to center myself in times of chaos.
I know firsthand that extra writing seems like a chore, but I’d encourage anyone to simply begin. The hardest part is always starting, but once I get going, I never want to stop. I talk to my journal like an old friend, someone who knows the inner workings of my life and understands every little aspect. In this way, writing seems like a conversation rather than a menial task. I love penning every little detail, because I know that in a few short years, my life will be completely different than it is right now.
So, I would encourage you to give it a go. Set aside a few minutes, maybe before bed or after class, to just sit with your mind and a page. I know that designating time for my thoughts and feelings has definitely improved my mental health and emotional maturity. Create a list of your favorite things, record how you’re feeling in the moment, or even make predictions about what you think life will be like in a few weeks or months. Taking time to accept and express emotion is important, and journaling is an amazing outlet to do so.