There are weeks when attending school feels like an endless series of word counts. Instead of learning to effectively communicate complex ideas, students are expected to simply meet expectations for three-page papers, five-paragraph essays and works cited pages (MLA-formatted, with at least eight sources!).

Writing, for a college student, can be very non-recreational, but students looking for writing-as-therapy should consider starting a student blog.

It is an intriguing pastime popularized by our generation. For the first time in world history, a writer can essentially self-publish and be read by readers anywhere. They can write whatever they want, however much they want, whenever they want. This, of course, leads to some occasionally mediocre projects, but the general freedom of the blogosphere is one of which our generation should be proud.

Students might write blogs simply because they enjoy writing; they might write because they need a public audience to validate the writing they are doing. Blogs might start as a requirement for a class and be continued after the semester is over, just for fun. Writing can be relaxing, but writing can also be used to effect social change. Blogs might also be valuable in the literal sense, making profit for the writer.

Student blogs are hard to define, but this depends on their overall purpose. A blog might simply fill a journaling need, serving as a personal online diary. Other student blogs are written to a particular theme, providing commentary on a specific subject.

A quality student blog, regardless of topic, is held up by consistent postings and relevance to some reading community. Good bloggers hold their content to a specific theme. Some of the most popular student blogs have such broad themes as cooking, sports, fashion or nutrition, but many of them play to a smaller comedic theme or are made entirely of pictures or links to music.

One practical use for student blogging is using it for reflective writing, a practice in which the writer describes a life event and asks themselves questions like “What did I notice?” or “What could I have done differently?”

From the point of writing-as-therapy, writing allows for a form of out-of-body feelings procession. The writers can record their most meaningful thoughts and impressions. Writing can also put an end to the constant overturning of troubled thoughts (to which everyone is susceptible) by committing them to paper. The writer, according to writing therapy expert Kathleen Adams, is able to “literally read his or her own mind,” and is then better able “to perceive experiences more clearly, and thus feel a relief of tension.”

Regardless of the blog’s purpose, a student blog can do much for personal development, or at least as a medium to exchange ideas. And for students tired of writing things others tell them to write, a blog might just be the perfect solution.

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