I kept a journal when I was completing year twelve. Mind you, I’m still keeping one now but I’m just not very good at it. Despite how bad I am at keeping up to date with pencilling down my daily thoughts, I continue to persist at it. Here is why and why you should as well.

Why a journal?

When I told some of my friends that I kept a journal, they laughed at me. They laughed even harder when they heard I was writing in a physical journal. Needless to say, they are no longer my friends (just kidding, just kidding). It seems a bit old fashioned, sure, but maybe we just think this way because we live such fast-paced lives where we don’t have much time allocated to self reflection and introspection.

I will give the lawyer-ish answer and say that one benefit of keeping a journal is that the content you write in it can become very crucial evidence in the court room one day ;D

On a more serious note, keeping a journal is relaxing. It can be part of your daily routine of writing in the day’s entry before going to sleep – a ritual of sorts. A journal is all about personal growth. Why do we take photos? It’s to preserve memories and look back on them – to see what has changed, to see what hasn’t changed and perhaps act upon the thoughts that these photos may have generated. Likewise, a journal can act as a way of reading into the mind of your younger self. I can pinpoint exactly when one of my best mates and I became so close and it’s a heart warming feeling.

6-2-13
Economics and literature was fun today. We finished The Bacchae in class today. Mr D told us to frame a handout [that he gave us] because it is so important and it appears on every economic exam. Maybe I should.
Ah. It’s based on market mechanism and allocation of resources

Although I didn’t frame it, I did print out a summary sheet which included information from the handout. Funnily enough, I’m pretty certain that I encountered one of these questions on my economics exam. Thank you Mr D!

What do I write in my journal?

It’s your own journal. Whether you keep it in a physical book like I do or electronically, the only real limitation is your imagination. I really wanted to share a lot of my journal when I first began writing this article so I started to read back on my 2013 diary. However, I realised just how personal my journal was; I wrote about the things that kept me up at night, my dreams, my worries and insecurities, my relationships and my studies. 2013 was a rough year for me because we moved houses and with it came tension within the family. It was nice reading back on it and knowing that I made it out alive. After all, it doesn’t rain every day.

15-10-13
I feel much better today. Went to the school library to print and borrow English language books and the librarian knew who I was without me saying anything. We spoke about university, careers, linguistics, English… it was very enjoyable. Did a literature essay at least. Mr X’s class was very insightful!

For physical journals (pen and paper)

I admit that I’ve been slack. With my journal I’ve always almost written on the pre-printed lines and kept it moderately formal with smiley faces sprinkled here and there. However, there is definitely nothing stopping you from adding drawings and photos into your journal. Use different coloured pens. Go a little bit crazy. Don’t write on the lines!!

For digital journals

I can proudly say that I have converted a few people into keeping a journal. My boyfriend keeps a digital journal using Microsoft word and has probably reached a word count of around one million by now. Actually, his digital journal makes me very jealous. You can create effective headings, paragraphs and attach screenshots and photos and maybe even videos and music if your device can handle the filesize. I really do like how you can also find key words or a particular day easily by simply pressing the ctrl and f keys at the same time.

8-11-13
Woke at 7:30ish. Left for school at 10:40. Literature! My experience is now over, sadly. I’m glad that I stuck through it all. Used two booklets. 2/3 The Bacchae passages were the same as the ones I wrote on Wednesday’s practice one! Ahh! Jane Eyre was slightly tougher but we’ll see what happens. No regrets. It was fun. Didn’t quite finish JE but it’s fine. Spent the entire night trying to find a birthday present for X. I was thinking of making a video for him.

We all grow old. We all continue to live. However, inevitably our memories will eventually fade. As for me, my journal entries are a reminder that I was alive and living. This was, is and will be my proof.

Written by: Carmen Wu

Old and feeling like a crazy cat lady, Carmen is a Monash third year com/law student who is preparing for her future by obsessing over Neko Atsume.'

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