What Journaling Every Day For A Month Taught Me

What Journaling Every Day For A Month Taught Me

A journey in self-discovery and ink stains.
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At first, the thought of keeping all of your innermost thoughts and feelings in one place can seem daunting. Especially when you consider tying to do it for AN ENTIRE MONTH. It sure did to me, but once I moved past my initial trepidation of somebody accidentally happening across those thoughts and feelings, the idea of journaling became something that I could look forward to. I found it to be a great method of capturing a moment in time, akin to taking a photograph. And one of the most important things I learned was that sometimes the quickest way to learn something new about yourself is to just write it down.

For starters, I learned a little something about where I like to write things down. What I found to be the best kind of journal to work with is one with thick pages (so the ink doesn’t bleed as readily) and pockets. That way anything I wanted to save for later to add to the journal wouldn’t run the risk of getting lost. One of my favorites, which is rather affordable, is Markings® by C.R. Gibson.

My favorite things to document are experiences and feelings that I might want to access later. That being said, I figured out that I also liked to preserve things like ticket stubs, pressed leaves, sketches, or pictures alongside the written words to visually enhance the pages.

Other fun additions included a variety of paints, self-made envelopes, and stickers. Having extra embellishments like those helped me to recall experiences more vividly as well as make the process of journaling more fun. I learned about what I considered to be the most significant events in my life as they were happening.

Mostly, I enjoyed journaling because it showed me different ways to spend my time, and besides having a therapeutic quality, writing in a journal functions as a nice alternative to being on my phone in public. Instead of allowing myself to be consumed by stress or sadness, I learned that it feels good to articulate how you feel, even if it is just on paper.

In turn, it pushed me to start sharing how I feel more readily because I had a concrete grasp of my exact emotions instead of just a vague notion of them. From there I realized it’s not just the sad things that are worth documenting, and I found a greater appreciation for what makes me happy after seeking out the best moments of each day to commemorate.

Overall, keeping a daily journal changed me for the better because it let me prove to myself that I could make a moderately time-consuming commitment (some days I would write for at least an hour!) and stick through it. I grew to become more comfortable with filling empty spaces, which is mostly a convenient skill to have as an English major who must frequently start essays from scratch. And most importantly, I had a stronger sense of self after I had finished.

As some parting words of wisdom, when I was stuck for ideas on what to write about, I found that good places to find ideas to get the creative juices flowing include (but are not limited to) Pinterest, a Daily Writing Prompt website, or this PDF that has a prompt for each day of the year. Any of these are great starting points to go off of. That or redoing prompts that I’d already responded to as time goes on. This reveals how your opinions on things can change over time, which is the best aspect of journaling in my opinion: being able to keep track of what makes you, you.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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21 Lies College Students Tell Their Parents

I can almost guarantee that you have used at least five of these.

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Let's be honest. College is the best time of your life for a lot of reasons, and maybe you should not tell your mom all of them when she calls. I can almost guarantee that you have used at least five of these, and the others — maybe you should try next time!

1. "I can't talk now, I'm in the library."

Typically used when the student is too hungover to talk.

2. "Gotta go now, I'm walking into class."

Then hit play on Netflix.

3. "I think it might be food poisoning."

Was it the food, or all of that alcohol? Your symptoms sound more like a hangover to me.

4. "No, I didn't just wake up."

It is 4 p.m. and, yes, you did.

5. "I need more money for laundry and food."

Meaning, "I need more money for things I don't think you will give me money for."

6. "I never skip class!"

When we use this one, it usually does not refer to anything before 11 a.m.

7. "I studied all night for that test!"

If by "studied all night" you mean you watched TV shows in the library, then, yes, all night.

8. "Everyone failed that test."

And by everyone, I mean me and my friend who did not go to sleep until 3 a.m.

9. "I'm walking home from breakfast with my friends."

Yeah, OK. You are just lucky she cannot see last night's outfit and the high heels you are carrying. We know where you have been.

10. "Potbelly's is a restaurant."

I mean, they may sell tacos, but I'm not sure I would call it a restaurant.

11. "I go to Cantina's for the Nachos."

I hope that is not the only reason but, hey, you do you.

12. "The $40 charge on the card from last Saturday? That was for school supplies!"

Yeah, right. It was for a new dress.

13. "Nobody goes out on weeknights, especially not me."

We all know grades come first, right?

14. "I can't remember the last time I went out!"

Literally.

15. "I make my bed regularly"

About as often as I clean the bathroom.

16. "I did not say 'Margarita Monday,' I said I went to 'Margaret's on Monday'!"

Following the use of this lie, do not post any pictures on social media of you with a margarita.

17. "I use my meal plan, and eat in the dining hall all the time."

As you scarf down Chick-fil-A.

18. "I eat healthy!"

For those without a meal plan who have to grocery shop on their own, we all know you spend $2 on a 12-pack of Ramen noodles and the rest on a different kind of 12-pack.

19. "No, I don't have a fake ID."

OK, "John Smith," and where exactly in Wyoming are you from?

20. "I'm doing great in all of my classes."

We use this one because you cannot see our grades online, anymore.

21. "I did not wait until the last minute to start on this."

We all know that if you start a paper before 10 p.m. the night before it is due, you are doing something wrong.

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To Love a Broken Vase — An Ode To Valentine's Day

"To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides." --David Viscott, How to Live with Another Person, 1974

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I remember an anecdote my elementary school teacher told us in the fifth grade. When a mother is pregnant with a child, they feel comfortable in their flesh. Provided with everything they needed to survive, they don't have to worry about anything. It's not until after they are born and the umbilical chord is severed that they realized they were not good enough, and insecurities fester.

I went through a similar process when I was growing up. Contained within my family and books, I felt like I held the world in my hands. It was not until high school where I seriously sought out others for company and wanted to apply myself to the social universe. And I saw myself changing in not only my behaviors, but how I see myself within the world.

With working hard to get good grades, with trying to get my driver's license, and becoming a better person overall, I realized the process involved a lot more effort than I ever had expected. And I found myself unprepared for the slow drudgery of it all. While I once pushed through to get things done, now I find myself giving up on projects while coming up with new ones. I frequently turned to my laptop for solace, as it kept my fantasies alive, but it also stole time away from me.

These behaviors showed in my relationships: I found it hard to meet up with friends, and my parents started worrying about what would my future look like. With the latter, I've had multiple conflicts with them, with me asserting I wanted to be free from everything, including accountability. Of course, that perception was quite unrealistic — to love and be loved, as well as to succeed, there has to a tug to know when you're doing something wrong.

***

A year ago, I wrote an article about how I saw romantic love from somebody who has never been in a relationship. Many things still apply today — I'm better off working towards my educational and career goals than seeking out love, though with Valentine's Day, it still fascinates me on whether or not I could be loved from somebody else.

From what I've heard from others, they would be charmed by my intelligence and kindness, neither fulfilling the stereotype of a nerd nor the perfect angel. However, the naivete would also put someone off, and potentially puts them in danger. I also see myself as the spontaneous type, but to the point where I forget where my priorities are, again making them worse than they really are. I imagine they would be intrigued by me as a friend or a lover, but end up breaking away after a short amount of time.

I don't imagine finding myself loving other people in the short term; however, I find myself open towards others. And that what makes me more afraid about how people view me--will they not be able to see the positives in myself when the time comes? Will they be just as capable of forgiving me the same way my family does?

At the end, I should take my friend's advice for Valentine's Day — love oneself. And take actions to make sure that I can love myself deeper and further.

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