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New Year, New Hobby: How Bullet Journaling is Keeping me Sane

Coming into the new decade, I knew I needed a new hobby, a new creative outlet, a new method to keep me on track. Ever since my junior year of high school, I have always been entranced by the idea of bullet journaling. For those of you who don’t know, bullet journaling is a mix of a planner, a to-do list, and a diary. While there is a set-out method, which can be found on the Bullet Journal’s official website, it is completely customizable. It can be as minimal or detailed as you would like. There are so many different spreads and methods that you can try to see what works best for you such as habit trackers, mood trackers, and goal setting.

Bullet journaling seemed like a daunting task to me as I am somewhat of a perfectionist. However, over winter break, I decided to bite the bullet (pun intended) and start bullet journaling. For a stationery-loving, goal-orientated girl who is in desperate need of some creative organization in her life, bullet journaling is perfect for me after I figured out my method.

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

My Method

I keep it fairly simple. On a monthly basis, I have a spread for the monthly overview, a daily log, and a weekly planner. I like to keep track of my daily life and tasks such as going to the gym, chores, and meetings. At the end of each month, I have a page for notes of the month. I write down everything from important experiences that I want to remember to my grocery list. Pinterest is also my friend! A quick search for bullet journals on Pinterest and there are infinite pictures for inspiration. From mountain themed spreads (which is what I chose for January) to plant themed and to space-themed spreads, Pinterest really sparks creativity when I’m feeling in a funk.

My favorite supplies

With bullet journaling, comes the need for some supplies. Of course, we have to start with the journal itself. The Bullet Journal method recommends a dotted journal. I use the Leuchtturm 1917 dotted journal. The pages are thick enough that most pens don’t bleed through and the pages are already numbered! Plus, the dots make it so much easier for drawing straight lines.

Now for my favorite part — the pens! There are so many recommended and fan-favorite pens from the bullet journaling community. For writing and outlining, the go-to are the Pigma Micron pens. For highlighting, adding accent details, and general coloring, the Zebra Mildliners and the Crayola Supertips work wonderfully. Finally, for lettering and brush strokes, the Tombow Dual Brush markers are easy and fast to use. These pens don’t bleed through the page and honestly spark creativity! However, don’t get stuck on the supplies, you can truly use anything that you already have in your desk drawers to get started on your bullet journaling experience!

Micron pen writing on white paper
Kelly Sikkema

What I Love About it

While I was initially hesitant to start bullet journaling, I am so happy I started. Being in college, you can often get caught up in the hustle and bustle of balancing academics, extracurriculars, and social life. It is hard to find time to destress and have a creative outlet. As bullet journaling combines organization and art, it is the perfect way to keep my life on track while also destressing. In terms of keeping me on task, my bullet journal has kept me organized and a little bit less stressed in the new semester with a heavy course load.

By far my favorite part of the bullet journal is for future me. I can’t wait to be able to come upon my bullet journal 10 years from now and be able to reflect on my daily life and experiences from my freshman year at UMass.

If you have ever considered bullet journaling or looking for a small creative outlet, I highly encourage you to try it! Give it a shot, tailor it to your own personal needs, and stay organized!


Images are courtesy of the HC Media Library

Karishma Mistry

U Mass Amherst '23

Karishma is a senior editor and a junior honors student at UMass Amherst, majoring in public health and economics. Some of her passions include advocating for female health, watching Netflix, and anything involving food. As a dual citizen of the US and UK, she loves to travel. Feel free to follow her on Instagram @karishmamiistry or her foodstagram @munchinwk.
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