Why You Need To Journal In College & How To Start

Have you ever been completely overwhelmed by what is going on around you and feel like you can’t organize your thoughts? I know I have! But there is one thing that always helps me feel more grounded. One of the best additions to my morning routine has been writing in my journal in college. And it’s been the best habit I have consistently kept in my life.

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This post is all about why you should journal in college and how it can benefit you

Using a journal in college can help manage stress and overhelm. it is an important part of a college morning routine too

Why Should You Journal?

It’s no secret that there are major benefits to journaling. Some of these benefits include stress relief, mindset shifts, and seeing the full picture. Journaling is so much more than writing “dear diary” in a notebook (although you totally can do that too). Journaling can be a creative outlet and your secret safe space. It is anything you want it to be, and that my dear, is the beauty of journaling. Still not convinced? Here are 4 more reasons why you should journal.

1. It provides relief from stress and anxiety

Journaling gives you a way to get all your thoughts onto paper. Something about being able to put pen to paper allows you to release all the emotions you are feeling and process your thoughts from the outside looking in. Everyone gets stressed out and overwhelmed for many reasons. Writing them out in front of you provides you with a way to see your thoughts for what they are and does not allow them to fester or build in your mind.

2. It records all of your ideas and dreams

Writing in a journal is a great opportunity to hold a record of all of your ideas and dreams. There have been times where I have written about my dreams for the future and when I look back on them months later, I realize those dreams have become my reality. If I don’t take a second to write down something I want to remember in the future, it is out of my mind in a few minutes. Journaling allows you to dream and visualize about the future and keep track of the things you want in life.


3. A journal keeps track of your growth

Similar to keeping records of your ideas, a journal also allows you to look back on events and thoughts you’ve had and see how far you have come. Since a journal can be a safe haven for you, it allows you to share your deepest fears, biggest insecurities, and worries about whatever you are facing.

It is a humbling experience to be able to look back at what you once thought felt like the end of the world and see how far you have come. I do this frequently when I am feeling extra stressed because it reminds me that I have overcome hardships before and I can do it again. Likewise, you can see where things might have gone wrong in the past and make the appropriate changes in the future. Keeping a record of the steps you have taken in the past allows you to see what has worked and grow in any situation.

4. You learn more about yourself

Through writing in my journal, I have gotten to know myself better than ever before. Since your journal is a safe place to keep your every thought (if that’s how you choose to use it), there is no holding back. It allows you to share any thought without shaming or filtering what’s going on in your head. A journal can teach you what situations stress you out the most, what scares you the most, and where deep issues come from. Eventually, you will understand what your reactions or feelings may be before you even have them.

How to Use a Journal

There is no right way to use a journal and that might be the beauty of it. You can use it for different topics or even in different ways. I have multiple journals for different things and each of them are set up differently. Your journal is truly whatever you want it to be! However, if you are complete journal newbie, here are some ideas to get you started:

1. A gratitude and affirmation journal

A gratitude journal is the perfect way to train yourself to remain in an abundance mindset. This can be as easy as listing 3-5 things you are grateful for – and it can be ANYTHING! I do this in my journal and follow it up with 3 affirmations that reaffirm belief in myself for things I might be struggling in. I list both of these in bullet points.

Here is a sample entry of what my journal might look like:

Today I am grateful for:

  1. the ability to move my body
  2. a puppy that shows me unconditional love
  3. friends that are more like family


  1. I am exactly where I am supposed to be right now
  2. I find positives in each situation
  3. My success is inevitable

2. A prayer journal

A prayer journal is a great way to track your growth with your faith and see what God has done in your life. Personally, I find that my thoughts are most clear when I write (hence the blog lol) and this allows me to get all of my fears and frustrations out on paper and hand them over to God. This type of journal also helps you focus on the prayer you have and prevents you from getting distracted or even falling asleep while in bed praying.

3. Explore your feelings

This is more of a “dear diary” type of journal. While I implement both of the other two journals that I discussed in this post, this is my main form of journaling. In this journal I will write literally anything on my mind. This can include any struggles I am facing, good things that are happening, and my dreams for the future. It is more of a brain dump that allows you to explore all the feelings you are having. You can use this journal to dig deeper into what you are experiencing, define your values, and explore the endless possibilities of your life.

Getting Your Journal Started

Like most things in life, the scariest part is taking the first step. The first thing you need to remember is that there is not a right and wrong way to journal. This is a highly personal experience and can be whatever you want it to be.

However, I recognize that you truly might not know where to start. So I figured I would help you get started.

  • Ask yourself questions
  • Makes lists
  • Respond to journal prompts
  • Write a letter or have a conversation with yourself (or a best friend)

Still need some help getting started? Here are some of my go to prompts:

  • How am I feeling right now?
  • What am I going through right now and what can I learn from it?
  • What does my ideal day look like?
  • When do I feel most confident in myself?
  • What have I changed in the past year that has contributed to my growth?
  • What am I most proud of myself for?

My Favorite Journal Resources

Okay so by now I hope I have convinced you to start a journal if you don’t already have one. Since I have been journaling for a few years now, I have had a chance to try out TONS of different journals and notebooks. For that reason, I wanted to provide you with a list of my favorite supplies.

Softcover Journal

This is the journal I used when I first started taking journaling seriously. Despite the softcover, it held up for over a year of daily use. It is still in perfect condition even after having been completely used. The pages are high quality and held up even through their fair share of tears.

Hardcover Journal

I have found Moleskine to be the best brand for journals. This hardcover journal is the one I am currently using. Previously, I used the softcover journal and loved it. However, I recently switched over to the hardcover journal for it’s durability. The pages are high quality (as with all Moleskine journals) and colored pens don’t bleed through.


I happen to have a weird obsession with pens. In fact, I have far more than any girl would ever need or use in her lifetime. However, that means I have tried out tons of different ones. My favorite for journaling are by far the black G2 gel pens. I also love the Inkjoy gel colored pens to spice things up in my journal.

Have any other questions about how to start your journal? Let me know in the comments!


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