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If you’re anything like me I have a difficult time escaping academics and just relaxing. Then, in my junior year of high school I happened upon one of the best ways to relax, destress, and stay organized – starting a bullet journal! Bullet journaling is a unique process of journaling that focuses on organizing schedules and day to day activities. However, there is no one way to bullet journal! As I have been an avid bullet journalist for a little over three years and compiled a few tips for getting started. Quarantine has been difficult, but it has provided time to start new hobbies! 

First and foremost, bullet journaling should not be another point of stress. Actually, I find it quite therapeutic, and it helped me with my perfection complex. A misdrawn line freaked me out in the beginning, but now I see it as an opportunity to create something new! Another great thing about bullet journaling is it can be whatever you make it. No one can control what you put it in but you! I’ve compiled a list of items and inspiration to get you started on your bullet journaling journey! 

1. Getting your tools together  

a) Notebook  

This will be the foundation for your bullet journal.! I personally prefer a  journal with dots because it makes it super easy to make boxes and ensure  straight lines. Another important aspect is ensuring your pens don’t bleed through the page. In most instances, this equates to finding a notebook with pages above 100gsm (my current one is at 120gsm). I always set aside the last page as a “bleed test”, because I don’t want to ruin my hard work!

 b) Pens 

These can come from anywhere! Don’t feel like you need to buy fancy pens. I  recommend getting a combination of slim and thick pens to vary your bullet journaling. I also recommend getting a simple black pen for a base. When I  started out I got a set of 20 basic colors, which allowed for plenty of designs. 



Pinterest will be your new best friend (if it isn’t already). I have a board with over  400 pins dedicated to bullet journaling. It is incredible to see what others have created and incorporate them into your own journal! This can also be helpful if you are looking for ideas on how to journal your budgeting, habit tracking, or how to use it for school.  


3. Answer the question: What do you want out of your journal? 

This past year, my bullet journal has become a budget tracker and a planner created by me! I have my class schedule, a class outline, and I write my daily assignments on a weekly spread. But the journal can be whatever you make it! I have used it as a journal to rerecord the highlights of each day, or something to put my emotions into. Bullet journals are versatile. 


4. Inspiration strikes in the oddest places 

Beyond the notebook and a few nice pens, I’ve always felt guilty about buying fun paper to add some nice design to my bullet journal. Instead, I’ve found fun backgrounds and accents from birthday cards, envelopes, newspapers, and magazines. These offer different colors and patterns,and  you get to recycle! So next time don’t toss your brightly colored envelope, think about putting it towards a bullet journal. 

These are just a few tips on starting out, but hopefully this list will inspire you to run to Target and grab a notebook. Happy bullet journaling!

Megan Arnett

Rochester '24

Megan is majoring in Epidemiology while on a PreMed track. She also has academic interests in English History. She is passionate about making connections with others. She also loves to workout, read, bake, and bullet journal! And she will never turn down an iced coffee.
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