What is on your mind? Lots of thoughts? Flitting in and out? How will you capture those thoughts?

If you write down what is on your mind, you won’t have to remember all those thoughts for the moment. Why is that important? If you are trying to keep a list of groceries in mind at the same time as you are thinking about a lab report for an experiment you conducted, you will undoubtedly forget something.

Before getting together with your classmates to prepare for an upcoming test, write down the questions that you have not understood. This way, you can concentrate on understanding the solutions and writing out the steps of the process, which will help you visualize those steps when you are taking the exam.

Before an interview for an internship, write out what you think makes you a strong candidate. You won’t show anyone what you wrote, but you’ve thought about your strengths and are prepared for your interview.

Are you thinking about changing your major? Write down the reasons you are considering leaving your current major, and the reasons another major seems appealing. Now consider what the financial and time impact would be. Write out other factors that may occur to you.

What about that lab report? Following the template of how to write a lab report is helpful, but your thoughts, questions, and conclusions will create the substance of the report.

Maybe you want to start a new student club at City Tech. Write down the purpose of the club, what will be gained by forming this club, who would be interested, and what activities would be planned. By writing your thoughts, you will not only be able to complete the paperwork necessary to start a new club more easily, you will also have the words and concepts ready to discuss with others who may be interested.

Are you studying a topic you think is boring? Take a moment to think about what you already know that relates to this subject. Use your writing to connect the topic to something you know or want to learn more about. Your thoughts and effort are what will make your studies interesting. See Making Connections for more ideas on how to make learning a pleasure, even fun.

Writing makes your thinking visible. Can’t get started on an assignment? Write down whatever comes into your mind about the topic. What starts as your first thought may not even be part of the final product, but now you’ve started to work.

Keep a Journal

As a more structured way to write down their thoughts, many students (and people in general!) find keeping a journal to be a powerful, positive practice. Writing down your thoughts and responses to your course materials or how you are feeling about your life and your studies is a habit that has long-lasting benefits. Write every day and reflect on what comes up. Among the many benefits this habit brings are self-discipline, self-awareness, and better skills at persuasion because you realize why you think the way you do and can better articulate your thinking.

To make this a consistent practice, set a regular time for journal writing. Start with 15 minutes. Consider using a journaling app, which often includes a setting for reminders to be sent to your phone. Or you may consider writing on paper or in a notebook. This is writing for yourself, not to be shared, but to hear your own thinking.

In order to know what you think, put it into words! This will help you reflect on your views and see how they take shape on the page.



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The Companion for the First Year at City Tech Copyright © by Office of First Year Programs is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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