As of lately, I have decided to start keeping a personal journal to document some of the things taking place in my life and some of my personal thoughts. I date each page and write down as much as I can whenever I have a free moment.

Since I have started making journaling a priority in my life, these are some of the benefits I have discovered:

1. Making sense of my thoughts and feelings

It seems like more times than not, my thoughts are all over the place and I am constantly trying to collect my thoughts and make sense of them. When I take some personal time to sit down and just write down my ideas, feelings, and what is going on in my life and read it back it is really refreshing and clarifying. I think that this can extremely beneficial and stress relieving, especially for overwhelmed college students.

2. Documenting my life for the future

Although I am only 21 years old, sometimes I have trouble remembering the details of things that took place only a few years earlier. I often forget when things happened, why they happened, or how I was feeling during a certain time in my life. By keeping a personal journal I am able to go back and read exactly how I was feeling and when things happened. I feel that this is very important and something that I will be thankful that I did in the future.

3. Tracing my growth as a person

Being able to go back and read how I viewed things at a certain time in my life and how I responded to certain situations will make it possible to see how much I have evolved as a person over time. I look back and see things with a greater understanding and learn from my mistakes in the past. I can understand how I should have done things differently and prevent myself from falling back into previous bad habits.

4. Recording my life for not only me but for those who love me

On the popular ABC show “Grey's Anatomy" the main character's mother keeps several journals throughout her life and that it how her daughter really gets to know her after she passes away. I found this inspiring because without these journals, this woman would have remained greatly understood and no one would have known how truly complex and brilliant she was. I want to record my life so that — God forbid — if anything ever happens to me, my loved ones are able to read the events of my life from my own personal point of view.

5. Expressing myself privately, not on social media

In modern day society, when people feel compelled to express their opinions the first thing they do is jump on social media. Often times people do this without even fully making sense of what they are saying and are just eager to get a response from their peers. The beneficial thing about keeping a private journal is that I can write out what I think or how I feel without the whole social media world knowing and criticizing me. I can go back and reread what I wrote and decide if how I feel makes sense without being judged by anyone else but myself.