Join the 30 day quarantine journal challenge
For high school students.
Blog, vlog, post on IG -- whatever the format, your voice is important.
What is the Quarantine Journal Challenge?
As a college admissions and career coach, I keep getting asked, "What's the best thing students can work on right now to stay competitive for college applications?"
While I could give the expected responses like "use this time to study for the SATs" or "focus on those AP exams," it wouldn’t feel right given what’s happening today.
It's a scary time right now. The entire world has slowed down. And, no one truly knows when this situation will end.
In a time of massive change and uncertainty, students need support. Students need a place to vent. Students need a place to organize their thoughts.
So, what's the best thing students can do right now?
That's right: Finding an outlet to put what they're currently experiencing into words is the best thing they can do right now.
Not only would it be good for students' mental health, it can serve as a time capsule to look back on decades from now as a reminder of how strong they were as kids.
I remember my AP language arts teacher having us complete a 12th grade memory book -- one full of prompts like documenting the life of an elder in the family, writing about where we were during a catastrophic event, or having a best friend write a letter to us predicting our future.
At the time I thought the assignment was so useless.
In looking back at the year I graduated high school, that fluffy assignment turned out to be one of the most meaningful assignments I've ever had.
The elder I interviewed was my grandfather who passed away shortly after (who I was so close to, I later named my child after him).
The catastrophic event that I started off senior year with was 9/11.
The best friend who wrote that letter predicting my future ended up becoming my husband.
Now is an important time for reflection, so I want to offer students a similar chance to document something that will probably never happen again in their lives.
To help students document what they're going through, I've put together a free series of daily journal prompts for 30 days.
Students can blog, vlog, post on IG, use an old school pen and journal -- whatever format they choose -- and use this as an outlet for what they're feeling right now.
Students can sign up directly or parents can sign up and forward the emails to their children.
As an added bonus, for those students applying to college in the near future, they can look back at these entries to help spark ideas for their college application essays.
As a community, we need to mentally process what's happening so that we can learn and grow from the experience.
After working for the UC Berkeley admissions team, Mary Grace Gardner became an entrepreneur and college admissions and career coach who has spent over a decade helping students get into their ideal schools. She guides students across the globe in writing compelling college application essays, pursuing passion projects that stand out, and developing the skills necessary to succeed in college and beyond.
Mary Grace was accepted to colleges including Yale, Johns Hopkins and Emory. She graduated on full scholarship from the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of California, Berkeley, earning a degree in pure mathematics and a masters in public health with a concentration in maternal & child health and with an international health specialty. After graduation, she rose quickly in her career, becoming a hospital chief of staff, a director of operations for a surgical robotics company, and the chief operating officer for a startup focused on human centered reliability. Using what she has learned in the process, she helps students to clarify their goals, develop personalized plans, and prepare for their future careers.
Here's what students have to say about the 30 Day Quarantine Journal Challenge:
Because of this challenge, I am more organized with my thoughts and am handling the quarantine situation better. After finishing all 30 prompts, I continued writing in my bullet journal.
I shared it with my junior & senior English teachers who in turn used it as a daily “do now” in their classes. They had good reactions from the students.
I liked the prompts. The challenge impacted me by motivating me to write about stuff that I've never been asked before.