Every Friday, we’ll be highlighting some helpful information specifically for first-year students. Today we’re focusing on the importance of journaling — your future self will be thankful! You can take a look at all the Freshman Friday posts here.
Keeping a journal can help you take periodical reflective pauses to understand the meaning, implications, and consequences of what you are experiencing in the classroom and in your activities. We are not talking about a daily journal, but rather of a collection of occasional entries triggered by an incident, a reading, an encounter, and so forth. Journaling is not only a way to record the facts that you observe and your feelings about them; it is also an important step in becoming a reflective practitioner. As an added bonus, your journal will also become a helpful resource when you prepare your presentation materials for job/internship searches and graduate school applications. Think of the steps of journaling as:
Here is a possible framework for your entries. Include:
- the cause, description and outcome of a critical incident, reading, class, project, patient encounter, etc.
- your feelings and perceptions of the situation
- actions taken by you and/or others during the situation
- changes (if any) in your future behavior and/or steps to take as a result of this experience
If you want to become proficient at putting together a successful written presentation (i.e., resume, cover letters, application statements, etc.) and in person (think of interviews) start journaling now!