Get stories and expert advice on all things related to college and parenting.
Can We Help Our College Students Be More Empathetic?Marybeth Bock, MPH
Journaling can enrich students' personal and academic lives as well as help to set them up for professional success. Depending on their unique goals and preferences, there are a number of different types of journals they can keep. Here are some of the main benefits of journaling plus different types of journals that students can start keeping now.
From helping students stay organized to boosting their self-confidence, there are so many great reasons to keep a journal!
Journaling is an effective self-care practice that can help students alleviate stress, manage anxiety and even cope with depression. A journal can help students organize their thoughts and begin to visualize solutions to problems they’re having or simply better manage their schedules. Feeling more in control can lead students to feel more confident and less stressed.
A journal can also be a place where students can actively practice positive self-talk and combat negative thoughts, using it as a space to assess their strengths and remember to be kind to themselves.
Expressive writing has been shown to help individuals with a variety of medical problems. Self-reported physical health benefits of expressive writing include reduced blood pressure, improved liver function, better immune system functioning and improved athletic performance.
Journaling can help students make sense of how they’re feeling. Whether they're having trouble getting along with a roommate or concentrating in class, a journal can help them understand their triggers and emotions. With a space to record and reflect on their thoughts honestly and without judgement, students can effectively practice self-discovery.
As they come to better understand themselves, they can also discover what environments they thrive in and how to draw on their strengths.
Transcribing a goal in a journal can help make it feel more tangible. Students can also use a journal to make sure they are setting SMART goals.
A SMART goal meets the following the criteria:
SMART goals set students up for success as they are more likely to be accomplished.
Keeping a journal as a place to engage in stream-of-consciousness writing or even just to doodle is a fantastic way for students to harness creative energy. Expressing their creative side can help students not only express themselves, but also work through difficult emotions.
Journaling can boost important skills such as critical thinking, communication and writing ability. A study published in the Journal of Nursing Education concluded that students felt reflective journaling helped them develop critical thinking skills.
There is also a strong connection between writing and speaking. Writing down ideas can prepare students to communicate them more clearly and effectively. Journaling can help students become better writers by improving their voice and vocabulary.
One study showed that students who completed learning journals, where they reflected on what they had learned and then applied these learned concepts to the real world and life experiences, performed better on exams. Students have also reported that expressive writing led them to achieve a higher grade point average.
There are so many great types of journals for your student to experiment with. Remind them that there is no right or wrong way to journal and they don't have to choose a specific journal type. They should feel free to journal in the way that works best for them.
Here are examples of types of journals that students can keep for personal and/or academic growth.