Do you remember the adverts for diaries with voice-activated passwords and invisible ink to keep the boys and parents out? They made it seem so important to have an expensive journal to guard all of our thoughts and feelings even though most of the time it was for writing about how much we loved our crushes. Most of us probably didn’t have an expensive electronic diary. Mine was a pale pink, simple book with a matching pencil. Did I write about my crushes in it? Yes. Was my handwriting terrible? Yes. Did I cringe upon finding and reading it years later? Yes!
Diaries and journals have been kept for centuries and they’re still a fantastic way to record anything from your private feelings to your budget for the next month. So with that being said- here’s why you need a journal during uni.
To get away from your phone…
..and get in touch with yourself. Believe it or not, phones are not helpful with everything. Yes, there are useful apps like notes, alarms, and a perfectly fine calendar. But there are also pitfalls – notifications for Instagram and Snapchat that pull you out of focus and drag you into procrastination. There happen to be apps such Forest designed to help you stop picking up your phone when you’re trying to be productive. So, if you can manage to download and open it without checking your notifications, you’re off to a great start.
So put down your phone and open up a journal or notebook- it doesn’t have to be anything fancy.
It’s all about reacquainting yourself with your thoughts, reflecting on the day or even planning and readying yourself for a long study session.
It’s your personal planner…
..for personal things you want to do by yourself. If your phone is for your friends or to connect to the outside world, your journal is most definitely for connecting with yourself. Honestly, electronics, as awesome as they may be, are the cause of anxiety in a lot of us. According to a survey, people in the UK check their phones 28 times a day and a third of us have confessed to having an addiction to being online. But a study from Denmark showed that being off social media for a week drastically improved levels of happiness in the people who tried it. Rather than using electronics to plan things, use a journal. Permanently markdown plans and physically cross them off when you’d done them. Use your journal to make plans unique and personal to you such as a meditation schedule or to make time to watch a film before bed.
It’s great to document your feelings…
..and look back on them, either as memories or to further assess your mental health. University can be so hectic. Whether it’s running between classes or cramming for a deadline or being away from home, it gets tough. Despite some people carrying themselves better than others, everyone is having a tough time. University, after all, is one of the most self-defining 3-4 years of your life. Use a journal, not to get away from all the stress, but write it out. Thinking about how you feel and putting it to paper really helps reflect on how things are going, where you want to be and how to get there. By documenting your thoughts and reading them back when you’re done, or even the next day, you can really gain a sense of how you’re doing mentally.
Did you know: Queen Victoria kept a journal all her life. Many of them are now online for us to see the inner workings of her life all those years ago!
Practice your handwriting!
If you’ve noticed half of your notes are ineligible because the lecturer talks too quickly, you can use a journal to improve your handwriting. People who take journaling fairly seriously develop a style or aesthetic around their diaries such as bullet journals and writing in cursive. Studyblrs/Studygrams all show people laying out their bullet journals, checklists, and planners. They use colour coordination and the neatest handwriting ever seen that makes you question how they can be so neat and practical at the same time. It all takes practise but it makes for some fun and organised notes in time for your essays and big exams.