Get Hooked on Summer Journaling
School is out for the summer and for most students, summer journaling is the last thing on their minds. Sure it is fun to hang out with family and friends, watch TV, go online; or just lay back and relax, but how can these experiences be enjoyed and reflected upon later after this summer becomes just a memory? You can capture these special moments through summer journaling.
Some may be wondering why they should bother to keep a journal, and what is to be gained from doing so. It has been proven through scientific research that “the mindless summer movies, books and television you’re enjoying may be harmful to your intellectual health”; but once critical and active thinking is involved in these activities, intelligence is found considerable better ¹. Writing each day through the summer will keep your mind busy. The brain is a muscle, the more you work it the stronger it will become. However, do not get too bogged down with writing; in order to have something to write about you need to experience summer.
Journaling can be whatever you make it out to be. Now is the time to write whatever you want – the key is to let yourself go and embrace the freedom writing grants you! During school, students are often confined to write in a certain style, and given a specific topic; the aim is to instruct students in important writing skills and to encourage critical thinking. Although these tools are necessary, they are only the spring board into a deeper realm of writing. There are so many things to write about, and different ways to express yourself through writing.
Summer journaling does not have to be limited to an essay format, or personal response however, you can follow these styles if you so desire. There are many other ways to write, such as writing: a song, poem (rhyme, free verse, haiku etc), paragraph, or any other way you come up with – the possibilities are endless! It is a good idea to set a minimum of how much to write per day (i.e. 3 lines, a paragraph etc), but do not set a maximum. By setting a limit you confine yourself; writing without limitations allows room to grow and mature. It is up to you to decide what to write about, ideas may include what you did that day; what you would like to do this summer, what you did past summers, favorite things (sports, hobbies, places), or what you see yourself doing in 5 years. If you are stuck for creative ideas, there are resources such as Lorraine M. Dahlstrom’s Writing Down the Days: 365 Creative Journaling Ideas For Young People ². Dahlstrom lists historical events throughout her book, and suggests ideas to write and expand on. If you are unable to find this book at your local library, or purchase it from a bookstore or online, you could do your own search for special events or people that are connected to the day you are writing on.
Write to enjoy yourself. It can be a reflection on your day, or you could begin your day by writing – it is up to you. If you miss a day, do not worry. Some of you may not be used to writing daily, but over time it will become a habit, and maybe you will even continue keeping a journal after this summer is over. While you are having fun, you are also exercising your mind and improving your writing skills. By keeping a journal, you will be able to reflect back once you are older, and relive these special moments. So what are you waiting for? Create and preserve these memories through summer journaling!
¹ Harris, Misty. “Stupidity seems to be contagious, study finds Mindless fluff may harm you intellectually.” Calgary Herald. 16 June 2011. Print.
² Dahlstrom, Lorraine M. Writing Down the Days: 365 Creative Journaling Ideas For Young People. Minneapolis: Free Spirit Publising Inc. 1990. Print.