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As I was trying to decide what to write about, I came to the realization that I have now been writing these articles for a year. Over the last year, I wrote thirteen articles. Every single one of them reflects an important part of my life and identity. Re-reading them shows my growth as a writer, student, and person. Every time that I sit down to write, I think about what is currently on my mind. I never plan in advance until I sit down to type. Sometimes in my bed. Sometimes at my desk. Or anywhere else that the inspiration may strike. I had never considered myself much of the type of person to write in a journal but looking back I see how every article served as a form of therapy, self reflection, and a time to embrace the good and bad parts of my life. It still amazes me that some people read what I write. It really is a crazy feeling to know you have an audience, no matter how small it is. I have felt such a sense of accomplishment that people have told me that they identified with or were inspired by what I write. This is why I encourage everyone to write.

I don’t believe that everyone needs to write in a public sphere, but I do believe that everyone would benefit from the introspection that occurs when picking up a pen and paper or simply opening up a blank document and typing away. It should never be a stressor, rather an instant source of comfort that you indulge in when you feel like it. Writing has allowed me to express parts of myself that I was never able to say out loud. Sometimes even feelings that I was never able to admit to myself. Particularly, when it comes to my mental health, I have found that when I write I am able to create a bridge of understanding with my family. It is often difficult  to express yourself out loud. Writing has a magic way of feeling anonymous while still feeling heard. You don’t have to speak at all and the reader will hear you for what might be the first time.

 I urge you to try to write. It is not about quality or quantity. It is not about frequency. Writing should be a place of refuge to explore your own thoughts and emotions, and if you see it to be beneficial, one day choosing to share those feelings with others. When I write, I write for myself first. I write to understand myself and others. Writing can also be a reminder of just how far you have come. I want to share something with you that I wrote in high school.

Beside my bed sits a blue journal. A journal whose pages capture my life since I was thirteen. Four years of growth encompassed within four years of poems- poems whose topics range from vast interstellar space to my grandmother’s sixty-eighth birthday and everything in between: my parents’ divorce, my childhood memories, my first boyfriend.  Whether it be a simple list of goals or a play-by-play of my latest basketball game, writing has remained my comfort as well as my creative outlet. 

 Paper and pen evokes passion and sincerity, and allows the author to be truthful to themselves. When I write, I feel free from my anxious thoughts. My thoughts transform before my eyes into periods of self realization and reflection. Throughout the four years, my poetry’s content has shifted significantly and the formats have varied. Some years lack in quantity while others are filled. The blank pages used to bother me. They made me feel as if I was incapable of remaining in touch with my emotions or formulating opinions, until I realized that my desire to write was sparked by intense feelings. When I brim with happiness and I feel as if I am glowing, I begin to write. When I am furious, I begin to write. When I am dejected, I begin to write.  My creativity flows when I am at extremes on both sides of the spectrum. But there are only so many days that provoke such intense feelings. My creativity comes in sudden bursts, rather than on an ordinary day. Within the blue journal, the one that sits beside my bed, is my extraordinary life.  

I hope that you too will embrace writing as a part of your life. Thank you for reading parts of mine. 

Anna Claire is a second year at UCSD, majoring in Political Science with an emphasis in American Politics. She loves to read, write, go on hikes and is passionate about social justice. Her favorite places to be are the beach or in the desert surrounded by Joshua Trees and a starry sky.
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