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7 Great Reasons to Keep a Journal While You're At University

Jessica Perkins January 11, 2023

A 2014 Statista study in the United Kingdom found that 21% of children and young adults write in a diary. Of female respondents, 30.7% reported writing in a journal. This is significantly lower than in 1996 reports, where 50% of people interviewed were actively writing in a diary weekly.

In 2022, fewer people than ever will keep a journal. This is usually because the writer doesn’t feel they have enough time or sees a point in collecting their own thoughts with the intention of reading them later. There’s also the assumption that journaling isn’t gratifying or any fun.

However, there are plenty of great reasons for anyone to keep a journal, especially students, even if they’re confused about how to start or what benefits they receive from writing every day.


If you’re a student, journaling can give you more confidence to take on life’s challenges and help you be more successful in class. You don’t even have to write every day to see these benefits.

Students often have to juggle school, jobs, volunteer work, and their social lives. But even if you don’t have time to write in a journal, there are 7 good reasons to make room in your schedule.


1. Your Journal Can Help Improve Your Mental Health

University is a turbulent time in a person's life. Students often move away from their families, spend more time alone, and have to take care of themselves. On top of that, they’re worried about getting good grades and getting to work on time. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed or sad.

Whether you’re trying to secure a private student loan or repair a fractured relationship, it’s better to express your fears, problems, issues, or concerns to someone or something else. 

That’s where a journal comes in. Journals give you the space to write about what’s bothering you without the possibility of being judged. It’s also easier for humans to solve problems when they’re outside of our heads because our brains are focused on action, not remembering.


2. Journals Can Boost Confidence and Emotional Intelligence

Your journal can be a healthy place that focuses on positive self-talk that combats negative thoughts. If your journal also helps to keep your thoughts and schedules organized, then your preparedness will reduce anxiety. It’s a good feeling to cross things off your long to-do list.

By expressing kind words on paper, you’re telling yourself you deserve happiness. However, positive self-talk can also improve emotional intelligence, which will help you build relationships.

That’s because journaling can help you understand how you’re feeling about a person or situation. The more you know about yourself, the easier it’ll be to apply these lessons to other people. It’ll also help you track how you react to people and how you can be better.


3. A Daily Journal Can Help you Achieve Many Goals

According to studies, you’re more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down. It’s easier to visualize a written goal, which makes them feel more real. It helps you emotionally engage with the achievement while also clarifying what you need to do to actually reach the goal.

With that said, many people don’t ever meet their goals because they’re not specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, or time-bound. This is why SMART goals are so powerful.

It’s also a good idea to separate your main goal into smaller chunks. For example, if you want to make the Dean’s List, don’t put this as your goal. Instead, look at your school work and calculate what marks you need and how much studying you’ll have to do in order to make the Dean’s List.


4. Journaling Can Help You Channel Your Creative Energy

Unless you’re in an art program, you probably don’t have many chances to express yourself creatively. Journaling gives you that medium. Students can feel free to write about anything they want or doodle in the margins. It’s your own space, and no one can tell you what to do with it.

But journaling isn’t all about artistic creativity; it’s also about creative problem-solving. It can also make you think about things you otherwise wouldn’t care about, like social issues or politics.

However, it can be difficult to start writing. If you’re someone who struggles to find topics to write about, know that you’re not alone. You can use journal prompts for inspiration, or you can write in length about your day. When all else fails, consider keeping a visual or image-based journal.


5. A Journal Can Improve Memory and Critical Thinking Skills

Writing things down by hand is an effective way to commit ideas to memory. This is especially important for students who need to study hard to pass their exams. If you make a habit out of recording your thoughts, you can look back through your journal and remember what you wrote.

What’s more, journaling can boost critical thinking skills. A study found that reflective journaling for critical thinking development was incredibly effective for registered nursing students.

Thanks to the student’s improved memory and critical thinking skills, they can score better on tests. Students who complete learning journals (where they relate learned concepts to actual experience) perform better on exams. Writing can also lead to a higher grade point average.


6. A Consistent Writing Practice Can Improve Physical Health

It’s immediately hard to believe that writing every day can improve your physical health, but several studies reveal this to be true. For starters, people who improve their mental health will see drastic improvements in their physical health and well-being because one affects the other.

However, since journaling is an activity that can lower stress levels, which is often responsible for poor physical health, people who write every single day will start to feel lighter and healthier.

This isn’t just because their head feels clearer, either. Self-reported physical health outcomes of expressive writing show improved liver function, athletic performance, and immune system functioning. They also report reduced blood pressure, which is sometimes high in students.


7. Writing Improves Communication and Writing Skills

The most obvious benefits of a daily writing practice are improved communication and writing skills. If you write every day, then you’ll get better at it, but that reality often goes unnoticed. We recommend rereading your January journal entries in December to see a big difference.

Are you interested in learning a language? Try writing a few journal entries in that language. You’ll quickly see improvements in your spelling, grammar, syntax, and sentence structure.

A better writer is also a more effective communicator. Since you’re spending so much time trying to collect and organize your thoughts, you actually get better at expressing them. The ability to communicate your ideas clearly will translate to your essays and other written school work.


In Conclusion…

Whether you want to start a bullet journal, ideas journal, or gratitude journal, there’s no denying that writing consistently will help you improve as a student. But that isn’t the only thing you’ll notice. Students who journal regularly are happier than their non-writing counterparts.

If you’re struggling to make journaling a habit, try to find a journal you want to write in. An attractive online or physical notebook will make you more excited to fill up those pages.


Sari CadaAuthor bio:  Jessica Perkins is a writer and SaaS marketing consultant who helps businesses scale up their marketing efforts. She is obsessed with learning and also is passionate about sculpting.







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