Last week, we gave every student in the Senior school a bullet journal in Brighton Girls-green. I am an inveterate note-taker, always ready to jot down an inspirational quote or record an idea. When light-bulb moments occur, I want to capture them – and at such times, only a dotted page will do. Kernels of ideas, random thoughts, opening paragraphs and to-do lists are all thrown in together. I like the creative chaos that explodes on the page.

I’ve noticed that bullet journals have been widely used by colleagues and peers for a number of years now, despite the availability of apps like Microsoft OneNote, Apple Notes and Google Keep. Whether you prefer a Moleskin, an Oxford Black n’ Red, or a classic Foolscap for that retro feel, there is a journal to suit every taste. Another thing I’ve noticed (and then jotted down to ponder later) is that students do not share this desire to record experiences in the same way. While they capture their lives on social media and soak up stories from celebrities and YouTubers, they will sit in lectures or talks from visiting speakers passively absorbing information without feeling the urge to reach for their pen or device.

And, just like that, the idea to give everyone a bullet journal was born.

To put these bullet journals to the test, we have been doing our best to bombard students with inspirational quotes and ideas. During last Monday’s assembly, I drew on the words of the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu, sharing pearls of wisdom on the philosophy of Ubuntu and what it means to be human (“I am because we are”) and encouraging small acts of kindness because “it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world”. This week, Mrs Ashdown followed up with an assembly on New Year’s resolutions; giving us stats on success rates and strategies for sticking to our goals – all of which she supported with quotations from Shakespeare, and of which I lapped up and recorded in my notebook.

The Brighton Girls bullet journal is designed to complement the Chromebook but, as well as encouraging time away from screens and the mindfulness derived from the simple action of pen on paper, we hope the bullet journals will provide a wellbeing boost in other ways.

Journaling has really taken off in recent years. In an episode of Woman’s Hour last week, it was suggested that writing your life on the page can be just as effective as therapy. What’s more, research conducted at Harvard revealed that participants had fewer colds – there were physical as well as mental benefits.

So perhaps we don’t always need the words of others to show us the way; perhaps it’s not about the inspirational quote after all. It’s time to pick up our journals and our pens and listen to ourselves. The answers are within. How can I put this another way? I’m sure I jotted down something useful from Mrs Ashdown’s assembly…

“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars
But with ourselves, that we are underlings”.

(Julius Caesar, Act 1, Scene 2)