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Down In The Diary

   School, sports, psyche — keeping a journal can benefit Christian Brothers students in all these areas during the school year. The year can be a beyond stressful environment for our fellow Falcons; work piles up, time seems to vanish, and relaxation becomes harder to find. An outlet needs to be presented in order to […]

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School, sports, psyche — keeping a journal can benefit Christian Brothers students in all these areas during the school year. The year can be a beyond stressful environment for our fellow Falcons; work piles up, time seems to vanish, and relaxation becomes harder to find. An outlet needs to be presented in order to help students get by — that is where journal writing comes in.

The Talon interviewed Christian Brothers teacher Mrs. Maureen Wanket, counselor Mrs. Blaire Moskat, and tennis coach Mr. Sean Mar to gain insight on why they believe keeping a journal can benefit a student.

Mrs. Wanket views journal writing as remarkably positive, especially regarding the improvement of a student’s academic skill level. Since 1992, she has made every class she’s ever taught write in journals, and she proudly claims that journal writing is part of the Wanket experience. Mrs. Wanket strongly believes that the daily practice of journal writing improves ease in academic writing.

“We wouldn’t expect a kid who’s never done a push-up to run a triathlon, and yet we expect kids who’ve never written a page to suddenly write this polished essay out of nowhere,” Mrs. Wanket exclaims. “That’s absurd! You need daily practice to get good at something!”

Mrs. Maureen Wanket

Mrs. Maureen Wanket

Mrs. Wanket practices what she preaches and has kept a daily journal since she was six or seven years old; she now has over 80 filled journals. She writes about her thoughts on what she is reading, herself, spirituality, and her writing projects, finding that daily writing nurtures her skills.

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Mrs. Wanket’s piles of journals

Mrs. Wanket’s ritual of pulling ideas “out of the ether” and putting them down on the page allows her to write with ease.

Along with the academic benefits, Mrs. Wanket believes daily journal writing also increases emotional health.

“[It] gives you sort of a meditative space between yourself and your life so that you’re not reacting to everything.”

As a Christian Brothers counselor, journal writing is one of Mrs. Moskat’s go-to methods when suggesting ways to cope.

“If students are struggling with any issue — crisis, or trauma, or stress, or anxiety, or grieving — I always ask students, ‘Hey, have you tried writing your thoughts or your feelings down?'” she says.

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Mrs. Blaire Moskat

Mrs. Moskat strongly advocates for students to journal because it is a way to get the thoughts scrambled in your mind down on paper. When thoughts and feelings are written down, they become more concrete and allow students to sort through their psyche.

The counselor claims that journal writing gives you the opportunity to “[ask] yourself some of those difficult questions and really [be] introspective, and [evaluate] yourself on a deeper level.”

Relaxing a busy mind by writing thoughts down can help one process, and allow mental clarity during the stressful school year.

Participating in sports can be a time of self-contemplation as you experience triumphant wins and heartbreaking losses. Coach Mar believes journal writing can help student athletes realize that evaluating themselves can benefit their performance.

Writing allows students to know “if they’re growing with the game, how they can evaluate themselves mentally, and just let[s] them process as well as get it off their chest,” he says. “I know that as an athlete, sometimes the loss can hurt.”

Coach Sean Mar

Coach Sean Mar

The pain of a loss can linger in an athlete’s mind, tainting their thoughts with doubt and negativity. The only way to get past the pain is expressing the unwanted thoughts, and what better way to do so than writing it down and removing it from your mind. Even if the outcome is positive and you take the win, it is beneficial to contemplate your game.

“Win or lose, I like them to process to see how they can do better next time, because I always push for better,” Coach Mar says.

Keeping a personal journal has tremendous benefits. For those with anxiety, journal writing clears the mind and wipes away worries. Journal writing is an invaluable tool and is strongly recommended to everyone in school, sports, and life.

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