Is Notion, the powerhouse of the college campus organization, really that much better than the beloved newspaper?
As far back as I can remember, I’ve always been a newspaper girl. I have a fond but also oddly vivid memory of going to the gas station in my small hometown in Arizona and getting my first Barbie notebook to practice writing my name. I sat there, with my fluffy pink pen, probably scented. “E” “V” “I” “E” repeatedly. As I got older, I kept that same level of fondness for newspapers.
I tried bullet journaling during prime time in 2015. It failed. I tried a scrapbook journal. It failed. I tried different sizes, different brands, different pens, pencils – everything! And failed. My own aesthetic needs never let me just journal…
That is, until this year. I never really had anything to plan, to be honest. Now, as a freshman, I have events, due dates, and a social life to plan. I started keeping a diary, both to keep track of what is due to me and to be aesthetic
~. I’m only a week deep, but I’m already having so much fun with it.
As I embark on a new quest to find my love for journaling, I wonder if it really is the most effective form. Would I be better off doing something digital before I inevitably fail, leaving one more notebook in the sea of half-used ones sitting in a box somewhere?
As most of you have probably noticed, Notion is taking college campuses by storm. My classmate in front of me spent our entire math class organizing her notes into cute little color-coded folders. No pen smudges, no torn papers that don’t match the aesthetic, no spending $20+ on the target stationery section – none of that! I was fascinated by its perfection. She even had a photo page, where she put treasured digitized memorabilia from her college experience.
So, I tried Notion. There are tons of free templates available online that are already made for you. I picked one with a basic cottage aesthetic and embarked on my journey to figure out how the hell this website works. Working on a Notion page is a lot like coding. You need to know the functions of each option as you work, which can be very confusing. Admittedly, I gave up after about an hour of working on Notion.
I can see the appeal of a website like Notion. It’s cute and compact and very customizable for any kind of organization you need for your life. There are also plenty of options for adding multimedia like videos, website links, photos, and weather features. I wish I liked it more. I want to be the organized girl who logs into Notion every day to check on tasks and deadlines. But I’m…just not.
I realized upon discovering Notion what I love about traditional journaling – the ability to gradually step out of the world and into my notebook. I spend about 30 minutes every day adding stickers and sticking receipts to my weekly page. I love being able to find things in the real world and add them to my journal so that when I grow up I can remember the Aldi trip I took with my roommates for the first time. Digital photos are cool and fun, but I think it’s best to add the cap from a soda can I found in the Charles Library study room.
I respect people who have the patience to use Notion. It’s much cheaper than journaling. It’s not really comparable at all. It depends on your personal preferences. My partner uses the Canvas calendar and various whiteboards to keep track of life. It’s not superior or better than Notion or logging, it’s just different. I like diaries because they are memories of my life. I have so many at home sitting in boxes, waiting to be found years later when I’m ready for nostalgia.