Documenting my experience abroad hasn’t been easy. Finding the time to journal has been difficult between school, friends, and unexpected occurrences (such as getting sick). However, it’s really important to me that I remember my time in Ireland and I try to write in my journal once every few days. I find it very therapeutic and I know I’ll appreciate being able to look back and read about what I went through while I was abroad and how I've changed. Here are some of my tips on how to keep up with journaling:
Be Comfortable Being Alone
I love my alone time, but I know it’s hard for some people to wander into a café alone and be there for a while. However, being alone is what helps me most, as I get super distracted when my friends are around. I think it’s important to journal when you’re alone because that way you can write whatever you want and you don’t have to worry about wandering eyes. It’s uncomfortable writing about an experience with someone (good or bad) when they’re sitting a foot away from you. Being alone really gives you the freedom to think as much as you want, stay anywhere as long as you want, and write whatever you want!
Journal in the Afternoon
Evenings are always busy. You may think you’ll have time to journal before bed, but I promise you, having time to yourself after 8 P.M. is a rare occurrence. In the afternoon, everyone’s schedules vary and you’re more likely to be able to have alone time. Once the evening hits, everyone wants to hang out and get dinner together or go grab a pint at a pub to unwind from the day. So, either you’ll be out with your friends or doing homework, because let’s be real here - we all procrastinate until the night before things are due anyway. The afternoon is prime café time, which provides a wonderful setting for journaling!
|Me at the Cliffs of Moher|
Sometimes, you get behind on journaling. It happens. Yeah, you forget a few details, but it’s not the end of the world. I was behind two weeks at one point, looking at my pictures saved me. My phone tells me where the picture was taken and at what time, so I was able to go through my camera roll to help jog my memory! If you know you can’t journal for a few days because you’re going to be travelling, take pictures. You’ll want them later anyway!
|Group picture taken in Galway!|
Just Do It
No, really. Sometimes you’d rather watch Netflix or take a nap. I understand. School can be hard and I love a good nap in the afternoon. But honestly, even when you don’t feel like journaling once you get started it’s hard to stop. Especially if you’re already behind, everything comes pouring out and you could be writing for a while without realizing how much time has passed. Channel your inner Shia LaBeouf and just do it.
Don’t Stress yourself Out
If you’re behind, it’s okay. The worst thing you can do to inhibit journaling is to make it feel like a chore. You’re abroad! Of course you don’t have time to sit and ponder about your experience every day; it would be a little worrisome if you did! As long as you journal an amount that's comfortable for you, that's what matters. Everyone journals differently and for different reasons, so just be sure you don't get so far behind that you don't even know where you left off!
Journaling is supposed to be fun! You're abroad to have all sorts of experiences and journaling is something that can be done to clear your head and help you recall what happened. Making time for it is hard, but hopefully with these tips, it becomes a bit easier. Write away, my friends!
Alice Corcoran is the Spring 2016 CEA MOJO blogger in Dublin, Ireland. She is currently a junior at Texas A&M University.
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