For today’s journaling session, I’d like to share with you about an activity I had my college students complete last semester. But first, a bit of background:
I taught Freshman Composition at a Texas university from August 2018 - December 2020. During my final semester, we had to teach face-to-face in the midst of the Covid pandemic. The students were frustrated with the hybrid learning styles, scared of catching the virus, and tired of all the politics surrounding the 2020 US election (since the class took place mainly in October and November).
One thing that really helped my students evaluate their experiences with the pandemic was our weekly pandemic journals. These journals could be personal and private - about whatever was going on that week - or open to the public and serve as a forum for sharing similar experiences.
Not only is journaling about the pandemic cathartic and healing, but it also serves as a virtual historical record and living primary document about one of this century’s biggest historical events.
Here’s how we put them together in my class:
In this week’s journal entry, feel free to discuss any aspect of the current pandemic that has affected you personally or that you feel strongly about. It could be something relating to your health, mental health, working conditions, or even observations about the world at large.
For your composition, feel free to handwrite your responses or use virtual paper such as a Word or Google Document or Mac Pages. Whatever feels best to get your ideas out of your mind and into the world. Also, don’t worry about your spelling or grammar, or if your ideas even “make sense.” This is just for you yourself. Spend time recording your emotions and reactions.
Also, feel free to attach any photos or links to newspaper articles that are relevant to your journal entry. These attachments will help you to remember how much you have overcome when you look back on your journal entry in a few years.
If you would like to share your journal entry, and share your experiences with others who are facing similar situations and who offer a compassionate, listening ear, feel free to post your entry as a reply to this writing prompt. I guarantee you that once more people start sharing their experiences, we will all realize that we’re all in this together, and everyone is going through a lot of the same things right now.
Sending love, hugs, and positive vibes to your journal entries. And remember, you’re not alone.