(This is an excerpt from the Trekker Tracker, the monthly community email newsletter. Sign up here!)

“One thing journaling has taught me is that the mind is a surprising place, and you often don’t know what it may be hiding until you start knocking around in there”  – Phelan, 2018

So much has been reported about the benefits of journaling, especially in the past year – from boosts in memory, mindfulness, and communication skills to better sleep, stronger immune system, and even a higher IQ.

But for Trekkers, these therapeutic outcomes are side benefits. We think “writing [and journaling] is fundamentally an organizational system” – a way for students to process experiences or emotions they just had. Over time, they learn about who they are, what they like, what their strengths are, and can use this information to identify what they want in their own lives.

“Sometimes we provide students with open space for expression, sometimes it’s more specific. After visiting BU and hearing from students there, we prompted Team Volcania to imagine life after high school. They could share with the group, but didn’t have to. By writing down and sharing these ideas, it creates a space for discussion. A discussion that they can refer back to throughout the year,” says Mitchell Del Frate, AmeriCorps Member with Trekkers and Trekkers alum.

Without journaling, that experience might not have led to self-learning. Journaling is a great opportunity to draw meaning from experiences. Ultimately, we want students to develop self-awareness and be able to live and choose with intention. It’s also fun to look back this way, like a photo album but for your thoughts!


Phelan, H. (2018, October 25) Self-care. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/25/style/journaling-benefits.html