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Notion is in, Journals are Out. Or are They? 

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

Is Notion, the college campus organization powerhouse, truly that much better than the beloved journal?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been a journal girl. I have a fond, but also weirdly vivid memory of going to the gas station in my small hometown in Arizona and getting my first Barbie notebook to practice writing my name in. I would sit there, with my pink fluffy, probably scented, pen writing “E” “V” “I” “E” repeatedly. As I grew older, I kept this same level of fondness for journals.  

I tried out bullet journaling in its prime time in 2015. That failed. I tried a scrapbook journal. That failed. I tried out different sizes, different brands, different pens, pencils – everything! And failed. My own aesthetic needs never let me just journal… 

That is, until this year. I never truly had anything to plan, to be honest. Now, as a college freshman, I have events, due dates, and a social life to schedule. I started keeping a journal, both to keep track of what I have due and to be aesthetic~. I’m only one week deep, but I’m already having so much fun with it.  

As I embark on once again trying to find my love for journalling, I wonder if this is truly the most effective form. Am I better off by doing something digital before I inevitably fail, leaving one more notebook in the sea of half-used ones sitting in a box somewhere?  

As most of you have probably noticed, Notion is taking college campuses by storm. My classmate in front of me spent our entire math class organizing her notes into pretty little color-coded folders. No pen smudges, no tearing papers that didn’t fit the aesthetic no spending $20+ in the Target stationary section – none of that! I was fascinated by how perfect it looked. She even had a photo page, where she put precious digitalized memories of her college experience.  

So, I tried Notion out. There are tons of free templates available online that are already done for you. I picked one with a cottage core aesthetic and set forth on my journey to figuring out how the hell to work this website. Working on a Notion page is a lot like coding. You must know the functions of each option as you’re working, which can be very confusing. Admittedly, I gave up after about an hour’s work on Notion.  

I can see the appeal of a website like Notion. It’s cute and compact and very customizable to whatever type of organization you need for your life. There are also a lot of options to add multi-media like videos, website links, photos and weather functions. I wished that I liked it more. I want to be the organized girl that logs onto Notion every day to check off tasks and deadlines. But I’m… just not.  

I realized while figuring out Notion what I love about traditional journaling – the ability to phase out of the world and into my notebook. I spend about 30 minutes every day adding stickers and pasting receipts onto my weekly spread. I like being able to find things in the real world and add them to my journal so that when I’m older I can remember the Aldi trip I took with my roommates for the first time. Digital pictures are cool and fun, but I think adding the bottle cap of a soda can I found in the study room at the Charles Library is better. 

I respect people who have the patience to use Notion. It’s far cheaper than journaling. It’s not really that comparable at all. It comes down to your personal preference. My partner uses the Canvas calendar and various whiteboards to keep track of life. That isn’t superior or better than Notion or journaling, it’s just different. I love journals because they are keepsakes of my life. I have so many of them back home sitting in boxes, waiting to be found years later when I’m ready for nostalgia. 

Evie Lugo

Temple '26

Hi! I'm Evie Lugo, a current Temple Freshman with a love for music, writing, journaling, and deco-ing. I love all things Sanrio, and anything plushie.