How I Use A Bullet Journal As A College Student

bullet journal cover photo

The colorful and crisp doodles of bullet journal Pinterest and Instagram absolutely enthralled me when I first encountered them about two years ago. I never considered myself artistic from a visual arts perspective, but something about those images of bullet journals all over social media compelled me to start. Still, I’m not the most talented of artists since I copy most of my designs from Pinterest. However, I enjoy the methodical process of sketching out a doodle, coloring it in, and finally outlining it with black pen to make the doodle extra *crisp*.

I received my first bullet journal and brush pens for Christmas two years ago. Let me tell you… it looked ROUGH. Obviously it didn’t matter what any of my spreads looked like because I was just doing it for myself, but it was definitely very far from the perfect lines and calligraphy I found on the Internet. With most things, bullet journaling takes practice, which is what my first journal was for. I rarely actually used it as a journal to keep track of my life. Over time, I have gotten MUCH better at calligraphy. Now, I actually use a straight edge to get those satisfying straight lines.

During the school year, I use a typical planner you can get at Target or off of Amazon to keep track of my assignments, but I like a bullet journal to keep track of my personal life. Normally, I use my bullet journal during the school year to track my personal goals and keep myself accountable for good habits like exercising and drinking enough water.

During the summer, however, I use my bullet journal for EVERYTHING. Most academic planners only run through June or July, but I like to plan everything in one place. This summer, I bought the most beautiful bullet journal from Papier. I even got to customize it for no extra cost!

papier bullet journal

I will continue tracking my personal goals and habits, but this summer I also use it to track blog goals and for my internship. As an intern for a PR firm, my days are usually fast paced and come with one task after another. It’s important for me to write everything down so I don’t forget something.

So far, I’ve planned and drawn all of my spreads for the month of June. Let’s take a deeper look into how I plan to use my bullet journal this summer:

Summer 2020 At A Glance

With the exception of my internship, my summer looks pretty low-key compared to previous years. Because so much is unknown about how the summer will look as the country comes out of quarantine and begins to reopen, I am not sure if we will be going on a vacation or not. That’s why this spread is looking a little sparse. The yellow highlights indicate the days that I work for my internship. Although Fordham stated that we will return to campus in August, I marked my internship going through the month because there is still a chance we don’t return. I’m hoping that’s not the case though!

June Cover Page

Cover pages are my favorite to design because they have the most creative possibilities. I love the trendy peachy/citrus aesthetic right now so I decided to make that the theme for June. My inspiration came from Pinterest and I more or less copied the design on the right for the different citrus shapes. I also printed some pictures from Pinterest on regular printer paper for the collage on the left, and I love the way that it turned out. Cover pages really set the tone for what that month’s theme and color scheme will look like, and I had so much fun designing this one.

Goals Spread

To set my intentions for the month, I like to have the first spread be my goals. I have not yet set my goals for June because I still have a couple days and I want to plan them out a little more before I write them down. I continued the peach and citrus theme with the background pattern on the top half of the page, and I used some leftover images from the collage on the cover in the bottom half of this page for some extra *spice*.

Habit Tracker

I create habit trackers month after month but I always fail to actually track my habits (mainly because I never do them, oops). I am DETERMINED to actually fill out this month’s tracker because the end result is so satisfying and it’s a great accomplishment to see that you are taking care of yourself. Because this summer is looking a little slower than normal, I want to make an effort to give myself structure so that I don’t waste the good weather and extra time.

Weekly Spread

My weekly spread is where all the action happens. Once again, I highlighted my internship comittment in yellow. The rest of the empty space will soon be filled with to-do lists that look something like:

  • clean room
  • laundry
  • exercise
  • work

To-do lists are essential to my productivity so I had to make sure I had ample room to fill up each day with notes. Again, I took this spread design from Pinterest but changed up the color scheme.

June Reflection

Finally, we have a reflection for the month. Here, I will look back at the goals that I set at the beginning of the month to see if I accomplished them. If I did, I will congratulate myself. If I didn’t, I will brainstorm what I need to do to improve. That way, I can accurately set goals for the next month.

At the end of the day, I just want to make sure I don’t end up in bed all summer. Having a job helps, but I only work 3 days a week for 3 hours day. I’ll definitely have plenty of free time. Given the limited amount of activities available outside my house, I can totally see myself quickly losing motivation to do anything.

The great thing about bullet journals is that you can use them for whatever you want. Maybe you want to use it like I do as a traditional daily planner, or maybe it’s more of an art project. You might want to use a bullet journal as a place for your thoughts or anything else you want. Now all you have to do is pick up a pen and start doodling 🙂

Don’t forget to share!

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