Growing up as a teenager in 2020 is hard. We students have had everything dear to us — from our summer plans to our schedules, and everything in between — cancelled or thrown into a frenzy of confusion. So what can we do to manage during these times of chaos? Well, the answer has become fairly evident to many: journaling.
Many organizations have begun encouraging students to journal about their lives, especially during COVID-19, in the hopes to build a sense of unity amongst the confused, angsty high school society. Similarly, the North Hollywood HS English teachers have begun their own project called the Writing Contract, created to encourage students to start their own diaries. Through this contract, students are able to write about anything and everything, even self-debating whether a hotdog is indeed a sandwich (spoiler: it is).
It’s been proven that writing in a diary helps relieve stress by consoling one’s mind and bringing a sense of organization into one’s life. But despite knowing this, I’ve never been an avid fan of journaling, only because I absolutely despise handwriting things, and I’m not alone. Fellow sophomore Clarissa Uytiepo said, “While typing may seem like an impersonal form of writing, I feel more at ease because … the fonts are easier to read than my own handwriting.”
Like Clarissa, I don’t have the neatest handwriting, which has always been the biggest reason for my distaste of journaling. Additionally, I didn’t really consider the Writing Contract as journaling, since it is an online diary. I pondered, “If you weren’t filling your journal with handwritten entries, you weren’t really journaling.” The very essence of journaling is handwriting it, is it not? However, my opinion changed after writing my first few entries. I just dumped all of the feelings I had cooped up for so long, as I talked about the dejected slump I went through in the beginning of quarantine and how I dealt with (and still am dealing with) the stress that comes with living through a pandemic. I wrote about myself and my friends, everything I was resentful and grateful for, anything I was feeling at that time. And surprisingly, this helped with the stress I had been feeling for so long.
Keeping a diary might not be for everyone, and I know this from personal experience. Whether it is because one genuinely sees it as a waste of time or because they aren’t fans of their own handwriting, maybe online journaling is the way to go. Journaling online doesn’t take away any of the benefits one would get from keeping a normal paper diary, so I’d say go for it and try it out! Besides, starting an online journal means not having to see your scrawly handwriting, a gift to those with bad penmanship.