How to Create the Best Bullet Journal for College Students

by Jacki Andre August 27, 2018

How to Create the Best Bullet Journal for College Students

Dear Sparkly Unicornlets:

Shush! I know you’re a college student. I still reserve the right to call you a “unicornlet.” If you’re in college, there’s an excellent chance that you’re younger than me. (Sadly a rather large percentage of the population is these days.) But also, and trust me on this: put off full-fledged adulting (er, “unicorning”?) for as long as you can. Revel in being a unicornlet. You know those memes about adulting? Like the one that goes: “You is tired. You is broke. You is adulting.”? Yeah, well, sorry to break it to you, but they’re true. Allllll true.

Now I may be bad mouthing adulthood, but I’m not going to let the college years get off scot-free. Because let’s face it, college isn’t exactly a cakewalk either. Amirite?

I have a bachelor’s and a master’s university degree. I hear ya. I’ve been there. It’s tough at the beginning when you’re adjusting to being away from home and suddenly responsible for your own wellbeing. 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 money to do much self-care.

What’s a unicornlet to do?

Bujo, that’s what.

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. Sparkly unicornlets, Bujos were made for you.

What Exactly Is a Bujo?

Because Bujos are highly customizable, they’re difficult to explain. But, basically, a Bujo is a personal journal that’s used to track things. Bujos are more like planners than writing journals, though.

If you need a more comprehensive explanation of the Bullet Journal® system, and tips on how to create one, I have a blog about that!

Bullet Journal Ideas for Student Life

Over at The Organized Brain, Tiffany suggests making one master spread for the entire term or semester. This spread should include:

  • assignment due dates
  • test dates
  • important dates imported from the college calendar (such as the last day to drop classes without penalty)

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 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:

  • Information about each instructor, including contact info and office hours.
  • Program requirements, to help you keep track of the classes you need to take and any prerequisites for those classes.
  • Campus/Emergency contact info, especially for security, the health clinic, and, if you’re living in a dorm, your resident advisor (RA).
  • Computer lab information, including locations and how to use campus printers.
  • Campus gym information, including hours and exercise class times.
  • Information about groups, clubs, and volunteer commitments.
  • A list of professors that you’d like to take classes from (and those you definitely want to avoid!).

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.

Bullet Journal Ideas for Life Life

While you might not have a full-time job or a mortgage yet, you’re definitely on your way to full-fledged adulting. Sadly.

A Bujo can also help you track and manage all the things related to adulting, like:

  • Budgeting
  • Self-care
  • Contact information for support services, such as helplines
  • Contact information for off-campus resources such as police, hospital(s), taxi companies, and Planned Parenthood
  • Medical information, such as your blood type, allergies, insurance information, and contact information for your family doctor
  • Prescription medications, including names and dosages
  • The best over-the-counter medications, and what to use them for
  • Recipes
  • Cleaning (as discussed in the Inappropriate Bullet Journal Inspiration Facebook group, it’s easy to forget when you last changed your sheets)
  • Affordable restaurants that deliver
  • Life goals/bucket lists

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’ll be a full-fledged sparkly unicorn before you know it. Sadly.

Photo credit: Kyle Gregory at Unsplash

Jacki Andre
Jacki Andre

Jacki Andre has been journaling for over 30 years and still has her jam-packed Judy Blume Diary to prove it. Somewhere along the way, she started writing for reals, and is now a published author and Huffington Post blogger. In her spare time, Jacki supports dog rescue, advocates for disability rights, and educates other drivers via hand gestures about the importance of using turn signals. She keeps in shape by chasing joy (and her ‘80s teen idols) in earnest.


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in Journal Lovers News

12 Essential Things to Track in your Gardening Journal
12 Essential Things to Track in your Gardening Journal

by Jacki Andre April 15, 2019

A gardening journal is a valuable tool in figuring out what works best in your own garden. It will be most insightful if kept over several consecutive seasons. Because figuring out what works best takes a lifetime to fine-tune, really. Even long-time gardeners experiment with new varieties, struggle with newly-introduced pests, or need to adapt to changing weather patterns. Tracking things like your garden layout, important dates, seed/plant performance, weed control, and expenses can help you max out your garden's bounty.

Read More
Cognitive Journaling: A New Way to Boost Happiness
Cognitive Journaling: A New Way to Boost Happiness

by Jacki Andre March 26, 2019

Cognitive journaling is a pretty new concept, developed by Dr. Richard Ragnarson. It is based on cognitive behavioral therapy, which aims to give people the tools they need to become their own therapists. With those tools, they can learn how to recognize their own distorted thought patterns and how to move towards happier, healthier thoughts. Cognitive journaling can provide the same tools and benefits, and best of all, it can be done on your own (though it is more effective when done under the guidance of a licensed therapist).
Read More
8 Tips on How to Start and Organize an Idea Journal
8 Tips on How to Start and Organize an Idea Journal

by Jacki Andre March 06, 2019

If you’re thinking that idea journals are for fully-formed, brilliant, world-changing ideas, stop right there. Idea journals are for all kinds of ideas, including those that need to be incubated for awhile. These journals can include all kinds of things, such as daily goals, achievements, observations, quotes, artwork, and ephemera. They're not so much about fully fledged ideas as they are about inspiration.

Read More