I Tried Journaling for a Week and This is What I Learned

College is often thought of as a time of freedom, fun, new people and new experiences. While I’ve come to find out that all of that is true (and amazing), I’ve also realized that college is a time for self-discovery. Once you’re finally on your own and making your own decisions, you begin to learn things about yourself that you may not have had experience with while still in high school. This week, I’ve learned that journaling is a great way to do this. Always hearing about the positive effects of journaling, I’ve tried to keep a journal approximately 2,000 times, but every time I found myself getting bored and moving on to something else within a few days. In the past week, I have literally forced myself to keep it going to see if it has any type of effect on me or how I view myself or current situations.  

What I Learned: 

1. First of all, anyone who writes in a journal knows how weird it is to feel like you’re talking to an inanimate object. Like do I have to use pleasantries? In case you’re wondering, I do and I feel weird about it every time.

2. Journaling is such a good outlet for emotional distress. I found out that oftentimes, I felt a lot better about things after writing out my feelings. It’s like venting without actually talking to someone, which is extra nice if you haven’t really found someone you're comfortable talking to yet. However, journals don’t have to be all about bad times, as I think writing about and revisiting good times is just as important.

3. Don’t force yourself to write out a whole page if you don’t really have anything to talk about. If you don’t feel motivated to write anything, write that down. Write down how you feel and just keep it at that. The trick is to just have something to put down on the page every day. In other words, don't force it, but stay consistent!

4. Reading old entries is super entertaining. I mean of course it can be kind of depressing sometimes, but I just think it’s really cool to be able to read a snapshot of a moment that happened in your life. In other ways, it can act as motivation. It’s like reading a book about yourself written by you; why wouldn't you want to read that? Imagine being able to read it 20 years from now.

After a week of writing in a journal, I have come to a final conclusion: everyone should do it. I think it’s extremely healthy when looking at it from a mental health standpoint, and extremely inspiring when looking at it from a sentimental standpoint. The next time you’re at Target, make sure you buy one of those overpriced journals because trust me, it’s worth it.

Photo Credits: Cover, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5