My most prized possession


Journaling allows for self reflection and honest processing of emotions. Keeping track of stressful thoughts or memorable events throughout the day also records personal growth. Photo by Jiya Sheth

I would describe myself as a papyrophiliac. I love paper and, by extension, all kinds of stationery.

As a third grader, colorful, sequined journals called my name. I implored my mom to buy me journals requiring a dainty key or passcode to unlock. Target offered another variety of fun spirals, including a two-in-one pack of puppy-shaped notebooks, which I simply could not start sixth grade without. In high school, I was drawn to the Moleskine section of Barnes & Noble, where classic, binded journals sat on the shelves, waiting for someone like me to come along, needing an empty page to pour her heart into.

Journaling has helped me record thoughts, feelings and worries from distinct stages of my life. Because of the vulnerability in my journals, I would never give them up for anything. If I was asked, “What one item would you save if your house was burning?” I would easily choose my black Leuchtturm1917 hardcover journal that I started writing in a few days after school closed because of the pandemic.

On March 18, 2020, I wrote: “Basically it’s day six of the Corona break and honestly no one knows what to do with themselves. We start E-Learning in two weeks so I’ve been busying myself with studying for Euro in advance, but I haven’t gone out in so long. But also, today was supposed to be our GSO concert : ( I really hope the concert will be rescheduled. I feel so bad for the seniors, and I’m so sad because I haven’t seen anyone from school since it ended last Friday.

Since then, much has changed. I made note of racial unrest, my evolving relationships with friends, how the world adjusted to the pandemic and more.

My entry from April 6, 2022, reads: “So last night was my concerto concert, and it actually went really well. I was just really running all over that day cuz I had press night and then went back to press night after my concert. I was on such an emotional high that even though I felt tired, it was all so worth it.”

More than anything I own, I’m glad I have this journal. It compiles unforgettable high school memories and feelings, both good and bad, that I can look back on.

I still love looking through my photo gallery at pictures and videos I’ve taken, and I frequently find myself pulling out my phone to capture a picturistic scene or moment I want to remember. But what I love about journaling is that it captures raw thoughts on paper. It requires patience, honesty and reflection. It tracks emotional growth. A camera can capture a moment, but it can never document the thoughts or feelings within that moment.

Before going to bed, set aside time to journal. An entry can include little things that sparked a smile that day or something that’s been causing stress lately. It doesn’t have to be lengthy or well-written. It just needs to be genuine.

Now, I flip through my journals knowing I’ll have to leave many behind. At the same time, I’m comforted by the fact that they aren’t going anywhere. I’ll always be able to revisit them to reminisce and laugh at my old self. I’m taking my black Leuchtturm1917 hardcover journal to college, though. I still have about 100 pages to fill, and when I’m feeling lonely, the first half will remind me of home.