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

If you’ve read any of my articles before, you know that I am a huge proponent of journaling. I think it’s such an effective way to process and reflect, especially when things are feeling super confusing or difficult.

But I feel like sometimes journaling can be glorified, especially on social media, for being this big aesthetic thing, with super fancy spreads and collages. And while making those can be really fun, I think this romanticized image can also be intimidating at times, because it might make some people think that journaling has to be some big, fancy endeavor. But in fact, the most important thing is that you’re writing.

I even struggle with this myself sometimes. I love scrolling on Pinterest, and I see so many pictures of really fun and pretty spreads. And when I’m in the mood to do something fancy, I try my hand at it, and of course it doesn’t turn out how I wanted (due to my minimal artistic talent) and I get super frustrated and then don’t even want to write anything anymore (which I know is the part that I actually will enjoy).

And this is not to say that making those spreads all the time isn’t fun or effective either. I think that having a creative outlet is so important, and it can be a great way to express yourself. But I just think that if the goal is to journal and express those feelings, it can be easier to just stick with a simple pen and paper.

Also, although it might not be as satisfying as aesthetic spreads, having an entire journal that is just filled with your writing is so satisfying to flip through and a cool memento to have about you and your life. I find myself flipping through my old ones all the time.

So, I recommend sitting down with your pen and a journal and just writing! I promise it will be just as effective as any fancy spread (if not more).

Maia Hull

UCLA '26

Maia is a second year microbiology and immunology major and mathematics minor from San Diego, CA. She loves to read and write, snowboard, go swimming, and hang out with friends, as well as the occasional shopping spree.