Journaling: A Chance for Self-Discovery

by The Cowl Editor on September 13, 2018


Photo of journaling tips and tricks.
Photo courtesy of Feeling Aware.

by Joshua Chlebowski ’21

Opinion Staff

Writing is an integral part of any college experience, be it a research or textual analysis paper.

Many students come to dislike, if not resent, writing assignments of any kind due to the pressure and high expectations of these pieces. It is important to note, though, that writing has many benefits outside of the classroom.

Beginning this academic year, incoming freshmen were given small journals on their first night at Providence College.

With prompts and thought-provoking questions such as “what are my intentions for the day,” and “what am I grateful for today,” these journals are guides to help incoming students remain true to themselves and to be reflective throughout their first year of college.

The unfortunate truth of the matter is that this program is often overlooked by students, who seek to merely complete the journal for brevity as opposed to quality and depth.

Students who opt to do this may see themselves as saving time when they are in fact missing an opportunity to de-stress and to grow.

Journaling and translating thoughts into writing is an extremely beneficial practice that more students should experiment with.

Writing for personal growth, unlike the writing encountered in the classroom, has no set rules or guidelines.

Writing as a means of self-expression can take many forms, be it writing poems, songs, or simply journaling at the end of a long day.

The process of committing emotions, concerns, frustrations, or blessings to paper can feel as though one is removing a weight from themselves.

No longer are those loose thoughts bouncing around inside, they are released into the world through the act of putting pen to paper.

The beautiful thing about writing for personal growth is that the writer controls how detailed they want to be.

Their writings can be shared or kept private, fodder for a new novel or just a simple mental health check at the end of the day. Depending on the purpose for writing, the style and tone of one’s words may change.

For those who may not find it easy to open up to others, even close friends, journaling can provide another outlet.

Within the confines of the journal, anything written is sacred and remains on the page once the pen has been capped and the journal closed.

Journals provide spaces to work out ideas or emotions, to confront the deepest insecurities, or to celebrate exciting life developments.

Journals can be written and kept to look at later, or simply used to work through temporary problems and thoughts, then hidden away and forgotten about.

Every person who commits their thoughts into writing does it for a different reason, and these reasons provide the guiding vision as to the way in which the journal will be used.

To speak directly to members of the class of 2022, give these journals a chance. Take those couple seconds to consider what thoughts come to mind before writing them down.

Do not allow the pressure from peers to rush a process that can prove to be instrumental in keeping one’s mental health in check.

Whether these journals are discarded after the year or are kept for years down the line, taking the extra time now will make all the difference when it comes to personal growth.

To students who are not engaging in this mandated monthly journaling process, consider keeping a journal, no matter how informal it may be.

While writing nightly may not be for everyone, it is certainly a practice worth trying for at least a few days.

Even if it does not become a part of one’s nightly routine, one may be surprised at how much they can discover about themselves through the process.