During my early adolescence I was an avid journalor. I don’t quite know why I stopped but by the time I got to college I had. I went to a Liberal Arts and Science college in Northern NY State and we had a first-year program based on themes and shared living. I was in the Global Problems: Human Solutions residence. I lived and classed with a group of about 40 students. Throughout the year we were asked to keep a scrapbook/journal to collect and reflect on all the things we were learning along the way. We were encouraged to use all means of documenting: writing, quoting, drawing, collaging. I tell you, it became a treasure. It’s fascinating to be able to go back and watch my interests develop, see what caught my attention and why, what emotions were triggered. I had long forgotten that there was a time when I knew nothing about, in this particular case, environmental sustainability and climate crisis, let alone living on my own and with 40 others, choosing my own studies, reinventing myself…

Perhaps equally fascinating is how much stays the same as we grow. I would love to go back to my adolescent journals filled with typical adolescent angst; crushes that were crushing, friendships that seemed fragile, and the pains of trying to find your place in a changing landscape. I haven’t gone back to read them, as they are in storage in Montréal (with my college journal), but I have two pre-adolescent daughters that constantly remind me that we have some really consistent struggles in life. As we grow up we seem to add layers of complexity that somehow protect us from the rawness of it all. Remembering this, reading it in our own words, might do good, might help us to accept them and ourselves.

While I am excited about the Learning Mindset project for lots of different reasons, an important one is to help me bring journaling back into my life for its immediate benefits and to protect my memories of becoming and being.

Caroline Archambault
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Write to remember what you have become and who you’ve always been

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