Magic of Journaling
After a long, tiring day, what do you like to do to unwind? Maybe you like to watch the new episodes of a T.V. show, share your stresses with a friend, or binge eat your favorite Ben & Jerry's. An elite group obsesses over journaling as a way to stay in touch with their thoughts. Those who have a passion for writing might carry their pocket journals in their bag 24/7, or have a bullet journal tucked away safely in their private drawers. Either way, people with a passion for writing all carry a complex galaxy in their mind, and spill the stars onto paper with the tips of their pens. For them, it’s a way to empty their busy thoughts and reflect on their days; as Chanel Estrada ‘26 says, “I feel relaxed and open. I feel cleansed in a way.”
There is such a wide variety of types of writing styles when it comes to journaling. Some may focus on decorating it, looking on Pinterest for inspiration on aesthetic journal spreads. Claire Lee ‘26 says, “I elaborately decorate my bullet journal so as long as it stays cute, I'll be motivated.” Art and decorating is a large part of journaling
and has become a very popular pastime for many, including myself. Therapeutically decorating in your own style can be a very calming activity, and it brings so much joy to look back on later on.
However, some journals are neatly organized into sharp sections that provide a sense of productivity, such as Amber Shan ‘24’s daily tracker, which she transferred online not too long ago: “It’s very concise, nothing like ‘I met the love of my life.’ It’s just what classes I had that day and if I paid attention in them or not. If I were sleepy, or anything I shouldn’t do in the future, like ‘I shouldn’t play this stupid video game in calculus since now I don’t know how to do anything.’ I’ll also talk about how I managed my time.” She also has a great tactic that she uses in her journal on staying motivated to push harder that would be useful for every student: “I’ll rate my productivity out of 100, and if it’s above 90, I did everything right - the color coding based on level of productivity really motivates me to fill out every page with the good colors.”
Other journals are just a free space to do whatever the writer desires, artsy scribbles filling every corner of every page. Alyssa Sun ‘25 says that “there's no such thing as a ‘
good entry’ because I focus on getting the words across. It's relaxing to know that I won't completely forget what happens in something after I journal it, and I tend to think about it after I journal too.”
So why write in a journal anyway? Where does this passion spur from? First off, journaling is a great way to overcome and defeat your stresses: “What motivates me to write in my journal is if I’m feeling really sad or overwhelmed, I like to write down my thoughts on a piece of paper because it usually gives me clarity and just lets me think about the issue in words. If I see it on paper and I read it, it’s like reading a story
and it becomes something that’s not a big deal. It’s just something that helps me cope,” Estrada says. Lee adds on to this experience by mentioning “[Journaling] is very beneficial for my mental health because it helps keep a routine in my life.” For people like Shan, it can also be a form of self reflection (she’s such a perfectionist): “I just want to write about how productive my day was. For example if I had a day where I procrastinated a lot and wrote it down, I can look back at it and tell myself to be more diligent…This might sound a little bit narcissistic, but I’ll look back on [my writing]. I remember back on January 5th, I wrote a very good entry - that day was the peak of my productivity this whole year - and I want to look back at my glorious life, or just to look back on how good I was.” On top of self reflection, Estrada proves that it can be a mode of self discovery when she says, “I think I get to learn more about myself. It makes me learn about what makes me tick. I actually think it also makes me a better writer.”
Another common theme found within lots of journalers is the sentimental value of writing. Fli
pping through past entries provides a highly entertaining journey through the state of mind that you were in when something special happened. Sun says “I tend to record memoirs. I accumulate a lot of journals, but generally it's just moments that were important to me.” On top of reminiscing about the past, journaling motivates you to live your life to the fullest, to record and relive the memories later on or when you need a little boost.