Adjusting to college life is never easy. It's not just about adapting to a new way of learning, either. You're also expected to start adulting, basically at the drop of a dime. And just when it seems like you have a grasp on things, everything changes.
It’s tough at the beginning when you’re adjusting to being away from home and suddenly responsible for your own well-being. There’s no mom to remind you to take your meds, no dad to change a flat tire, no principal calling you into his office if you don’t hand in a book report. Suddenly, you have to do it all yourself--and remember to do it all yourself--or it just doesn’t get done.
It’s also tough down the road when you’re deep into your academic program. You may be questioning your life choices, your major, and the relative nutritional benefits of ramen vs mac & cheese. You may be bone-weary, with a heavy workload and without much money for self-care.
How to get a handle on it all?
Break out your Bujo.
The Bullet Journal® (Bujo) system was developed by Ryder Carroll. It maximizes the organizational potential of planner-type journals. And that, in turn, helps to increase productivity and decrease overwhelm. Bujos are ideal for college students.
Because Bujos are highly customizable, they’re difficult to explain. But, basically, they're personal journals that are used to track things. Bujos are more like planners than writing journals. But, unlike most planners, they don't come with preformatted pages. There are no "built in" calendars or prompts. It's just a blank notebook, like SohoSpark's Birds Journal.
If you need a more comprehensive explanation of the Bullet Journal® system, and tips on how to get started with a bullet journal, I have a blog about that!
Over at The Organized Brain, Tiffany suggests making one master spread for the entire term or semester. This spread should include:
You could also transfer your syllabi into your Bujo, or combine them all together into one master syllabus.If you’re a college freshman, a bit of a warning: syllabi are typically quite dense with information!
But, as Rachael Smith points out in a guest post at Little Coffee Fox, plugging in all those dates into a blank notebook helps keep them fresh in your mind. Especially since you start by making a master calendar and/or syllabus, and then transfer that information into your weeklies or dailies.
You may find logs like these helpful as well:
Finally, college can be stressful. Some days, you might feel overwhelmed or bogged down. When that happens, you might appreciate motivational quotes that remind you how amazing you are and that hard work is worth it. If you’re artistic, you use could calligraphy and/or doodles to make those quotes stand out in your Bujo. But, as Kara at Boho Berry says, you can always make those pages look nice in other ways. Just use things like washi tape, sticky notes, or printables.
While you might not have a full-time job or a mortgage yet, you’re definitely on your way to full-fledged adulting. A Bujo can also help you track and manage all the things related to adulting, like:
A few students chimed in on that Facebook thread referenced above, saying that one of the things they most appreciated in their Bujos was advice from others. That advice can be about campus life or general life hacks. The advice is handy to have, for sure. But more than anything, it’s like a gift from loved ones. It can be calming to skim over the advice, along with the inspirational quotes, when you’re stressed and overwhelmed.
Are you a college student who Bujos? If you are, and you’ve got tips for me and other readers visiting here, please drop them below in the comment section. I’d love to hear from you.
And: hang in there! You've got this. Really.
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Of course you want more joy in your life. Who wouldn't?
Joy and gratitude are very much interconnected. In her book, The Gifts of Imperfection, Brené Brown notes: "Without exception, every person I interviewed who described living a joyful life or who described themselves as joyful, actively practiced gratitude and attributed their joyfulness to their gratitude practice."
Journaling can help develop and enhance your gratitude practice - and so too it can help develop and enhance your joy. Here are six tips to help you get started.
How do you feel about new beginnings? The uncertainty of what's to come can be scary, exciting, nerve-wracking, overwhelming.
You can take control of each new beginning by setting intentions. Intentions are not goals. A goal is something that you work towards and check off your list when it’s done. Intentions are about your way of living. They're about who you want to be in this world and how you want to show up. Intentions are rooted in mindfulness and gratefulness.
Many people set intentions through meditation alone. But, you can absolutely set intentions in a blank notebook and there are several benefits to doing so.
Bullet journals, in particular, are known for their splashy, artistic spreads, like those tagged as #bulletjournalspreads over at Instagram. One look at all the flowers, cartoon characters, and pastel colors, and some men might decide that, nah, bullet journaling is NOT for them. As one Redditor says, he was initially “blown away by all the girls with fancy tape and stuff.”
Here's the thing, though: journaling is what you want it to be.No one says you HAVE TO use “fancy tape” but no one says you CAN’T. Stop worrying about what your journal should look like and just start writing.