Before reading this blog post, I challenge you to step away from your predetermined thoughts of writing and see it from an alternate perspective. Writing does not always have to be academic, serious, or considered as “work.” Writing can be attacked from multiple angles with different incentives and outcomes. Moreover, no matter what, the best part is this: your writing is completely personal to you. Writing for the soul is something that can be shared with everyone or no one at all. As Jonathan Safran Foer put it, “Be the instrument playing the sound of your life’s passing.” You may thank yourself later if you record special moments during your college life, or you may thank yourself in a different way by reading through angry messages never sent because you chose to write them down first. Writing gives you the opportunity to think freely, let your words flow, and discover who you truly are. Writing does not have to be categorized solely as academic during college-life; it can be used as a freedom of expression for one’s own personal memories, thoughts, arguments, and trials.
As finals are quickly approaching and the end of the school year is near, I would like to remind students that we must take time for ourselves. It is important to find a balance in our stressful lives by taking maybe a few minutes, a few hours, or even a day, to just let ourselves unwind, relax, and be worry-free. Unfortunately, we cannot adopt this attitude at times, but in order to maintain our sanity and good health, we need to find ways in which we can let go of many of the burdens that may fall on our shoulders.
Now, all students may have their own relaxation or coping mechanisms for stress, but I would like to talk about one that many may not have considered in the past—writing. We often associate writing with school-work, but that does not always have to be the case. Just like exercising, binge-watching Netflix, or spending quality time with friends, writing can offer a sense of calmness, while also giving people the opportunity to reflect and release any stressors through their own words. Writing can be used as a healthy coping mechanism, stress reliever, and recording instrument by simply taking the time to write out happy moments and/or work through challenging times.
With that being said, readers of the Writing Center blog, my challenge to you is this: take time to write this week, whether it be making a list to organize your schedule or creatively logging a joyful moment that you wish to remember in the future. See how writing can better your soul by giving it a chance outside of the classroom, Grasselli Library, or the Writing Center. Don’t let life pass you by without taking the time to cherish it or challenge you through writing.
Grace DeMarco is a senior education major, writing center consultant, and tour guide on JCU’s campus.