Journaling 101

“Diaries are for little girls.”

This is just not true. Having a diary is not restricted to your more formative years. In fact, I would argue that you have more reason to write your feelings now than ever before. 

We all have pent up emotions that we don’t feel like pouring out onto other humans. Sometimes we fear judgment, disinterested reactions, and bothering others with what feels like objectively meaningless problems. Just know that your feelings are valid. 

Let’s face it, the idea of going to see a therapist can be daunting. 

Stopping by the Counseling Center on campus is not a simple task. It could take a couple weeks before they can get you in for an appointment. So what to do in the meantime?


Grab a pen and paper. Get to work. 

There is a whole other side of you worth getting to know. Often times journaling starts as an account of your daily tasks: what you had for breakfast, who you saw walking to class, your walk up to the CCB. 

Pretty soon, you are ranting about what that one kid said in your religion class to piss off the whole class or what news your mom texted you about family drama. All of a sudden, you are delving into the deepest layers of emotion that you didn’t realize you were capable of.  You may find that the roof of your aggravation toward a friend is not simply that they suck, but maybe because you feel a great insecurity when it comes to your friendship. Maybe the reason you are scared to go to your major class is not because it’s hard, but because you realize you want to switch majors. Tell your journal your innermost secrets that even you weren’t aware of. There are things you would never realize if you didn’t pick up a pen. 

And even if that sounds daunting, there are other options. 

Start a google doc. Title it something fun. Type away to your heart’s content.

There is no limitation of what you can do when you are typing in a google doc that serves as your diary. 

Make it as fun, angsty, or weird as you want. (whatever you do, don’t share it with the whole school). 

Sometimes you don’t feel like facing your emotions but instead need a distraction. 

There are so many things to do with journals. If you collect journals like I do, then there is no shortage of what you can do. 

If you are feeling ambitious, start a Bullet Journal. This is a really fun and creative way to track your schedule and habits. ( )

Keep a journal for quotes. If you keep a really small journal on hand, either in your backpack or back pocket, you leave yourself a really cool opportunity to document snippets of wisdom or quips from your friends. If you are a writer, these can become prompts for inspiration.

Start a journal to write down all that you are grateful for. 

This can be hard, but it can become really beautiful to write down even the smallest things that make you happy such as the way it feels to get up in the morning and see the ocean right outside your window. Or how that one friend giggles adorably when you tell them a joke. 

Ultimately, journaling is an investment worth the effort. If you don’t think so now, you will in the future when you are able to look back at all the memories you have documented for yourself. So get to writing!

Watch this video to get more ideas about what to do with your journals: