It is quite easy to get overwhelmed and honestly swallowed by deadlines, due dates and syllabi at any institution. Making time to reflect or time to breathe is such an important part of my Princeton journey. Journaling is a part of my Princeton process and I would say that it's just as gratifying as turning in an assignment. Through journaling, I’ve been able to grow not just as a person but also as an academic!
My journal entries sometimes follow a prompt that, for example, asks how many cups of water I’ve had or if I’ve complimented someone or myself today. Other times I can write freely and just tackle different parts of my day or week. This time of reflection allows me to decompress after a week full of good times, material and growth. I find that when I make time to journal at the end of a week, I am more mentally able to take on the next week because I've reflected on some challenges from the prior week. This reflection can sometimes lead to more confusion, resolution or even something to focus on as the weeks progress. But nonetheless I continue to grow and develop!
Journaling has even helped me in my junior paper process. An adviser recommended I journal through my reactions to texts or relevant social events that relate to my junior paper but aren’t necessarily important enough to include. These reflections allow me the space to just write without the pressure to tailor my words to sound more academic. With my ideas fleshed out and in conversation with current events, I can then approach my academic writing with a clearer path.
Journaling, to me, is a way that I clear my head or make room for other thoughts. What ways do you see yourself decompressing after an eventful week? I encourage you to find something that allows you to express yourself freely and authentically. I recommend doing something that you can do with others, by yourself, everyday or every week!