With a few exceptions, writing – whether in the form of essays, written tasks, reflective statements, or text-type-journals – is every student’s nightmare because it is time-consuming and requires concerted academic thought. However, when you have the opportunity to write by yourself, for yourself, it becomes a completely different experience.
Some people keep journals or diaries where they document the events of their daily lives, recording significant events or memories they want to keep. As many IB psychology students may know, memory is fallible and we end up forgetting many important things because we simply do not have enough brain capacity to maintain every memory. You are not going to remember the specific details of the amazing school trip you went on freshman year after you graduate; only through writing your experiences can you truly preserve them.
Writing can also be used as an outlet for stress or overwhelming emotions. Instead of keeping all your thoughts jumbled up and trapped inside your head, you can release them on paper. Writing about your stress helps you focus, so instead of trying to handle a million thoughts at once you can go through them all one at a time, giving you a chance to compose yourself and lay out your game plan. When you feel overwhelmingly sad or angry, writing allows you to express yourself and put your thoughts into words. Recording emotions helps you to understand exactly what you are feeling and why, which can aid in the process of self-reflection and healing.
Furthermore, keeping a journal can actually increase your own personal happiness. Writing about goals can motivate you, increasing the likelihood of those dreams being realized. Moreover, when you write about people, things, or events that have made you happy, you learn to be a more grateful person. Gratitude is important because it spreads positivity, allowing you to achieve more mental and physical well being. Writing helps you to “count your blessings” and develop a more positive outlook on life.
Last, writing in your own time will ultimately result in improved communication skills. As they say, “practice makes perfect” – and by practicing writing, you will become less likely to have those it’s-on-the-tip-of-my-tongue moments, as you will become more accustomed to forming your thoughts out in words. Additionally, writing by hand will help you achieve all of this and improve your handwriting.
The best of writing reveals itself when it’s for you. If no one else has to read it and judge you, grade you, or make fun of you for it, writing can truly be for your own benefit.Whether you choose to express yourself in prose, poetry, or pastiche, writing allows you to communicate emotion, release stress, and record memories. So get started!
his article originally appeared in the May/June 2015 issue of UNIT-E. It was written by Riena Harker, a student at the International School of Beijing.
UNIT-E was founded in the spring of 2010 with the aim of establishing a non-profit, student-run magazine for international students in Beijing. Staffed by current students from a range of international schools, the magazine provides an amalgam of cultural tidbits, fragments of Beijing student life, and a broad spectrum of unique perspectives from a diverse group of young adults.
Photo: mrsdkrebs (flickr)