The Odyssey Program

An Outline for the Generic Journal

Journal Basics: An Outline for the Generic Journal


An Odyssey journal is NOT merely a log or record of things done; it should be a space within which you examine or reflect upon the meaning and implications of major events. 


Your completed journal should have the following outline of entries:


I.          Opening Question - to be written before or immediately after you begin the project:  What expectations do you have for this experience? That is, what do you expect this experience to be like and what do you hope to gain from it? What do you hope to find out about the world? What do you hope to find out about yourself?


  • : There are three levels of reflection that a good journal achieves:


  • What? – Describes significant events, activities, observations or surprising personal reactions.
  • So What? – Examines what makes the events, observations, or reactions significant; what meaning do they carry for you or for those around you?
  • Now What? – Examines how your understanding of the events, observations, or reactions might shape your future actions, decisions, or beliefs


Write in your journal every _______________.   Speak to “What?” and “So what?’ in every entry.   Every ___________ entry should push to the level of  “Now what?”


III.       Closing Questions – at the conclusion of your Odyssey experience write a final reflection that considers such questions as:


  • Re-read your opening entry; have you gained from this experience what you expected to gain. Explain how or how not, why or why not.
  • What were the most important things you learned from this experience both (a) about how the world is or how things work in the world, and (b) about myself?
  • What do you hope to do about what you learned? How might the things you learned make a difference in your future decisions, studies, attitudes, and/or actions?


IV.       Write a draft 150-word transcript notation for your project completion form.  Be sure it communicates the main things you did and what you mainly learned. Think of it as your overall answer to “What?” and “Now what?” using well-chosen words formed into well written sentences.


Before handing in your journal, mark with a sticky note the  ________ entries you most want me to read.