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Reflective Journaling & Creative Expression



During your studies you participate in many courses and activities within and outside your study programme. In addition you move around in various environments, you encounter all kinds of situations, and you adopt diverse roles within different communities. All of these things help you shape your own identity and your position within the society around you.

To broaden and deepen your learning experience it is important to take time to process all of it. Reflective journaling encourages you to take time to process the things that you encounter, it helps to integrate them, and it helps you to get insights in your personal development. A reflective journal stimulates critical thinking and self-awareness, and in keeping it, it stimulates growth. Furthermore, sharing your journey with fellow Honours students enhances a sense of community amongst peers and creates the possibility to support, and learn from each other.

Through this creative course we also want to help you cultivate your growth mindset. It is all about learning more about yourself and in that sense it focusses on the process just as much as on the presentation of the outcomes. Also in terms of peer to peer contact it is all about inspiring each other, supporting each other, and learning from each other’s experiences.

In this course, you express what you have learned about yourself through the journaling experience in a creative way. This could be via a painting, a podcast, a letter, a column, a video, a dance performance, a musical performance, a photograph, etc. Art is a very powerful form of expression which can be very inspiring (to the artist as well as to the audience). It is a strong communication tool which can stimulate societal change. Furthermore, by nourishing your creativity it allows you to look at yourself and how you can contribute to the society from a new perspective. The scope of this course is very broad because we want to give you the opportunity to choose themes that are important to you.

Course objectives

Through this course, we strive to achieve that you are able to:

  • Interlink your experiences which together help shape your identity.

  • Make use of a curricular space to process all information and experiences gained during your study life.

  • Cultivate your growth mindset.

  • Experience the value of and discipline in practicing reflective journaling.

  • Cultivate creative expression.

  • Connect your own experiences to those of your peer group and to reflect and develop together.

  • Give and receive feedback to and from peers who are part of a similar personal trajectory

  • Convincingly present your personal trajectory in a creative way.

Course material

The course covers a variety of materials, which will be announced during the course.

Mode of instruction

This course is 4 ECTS, level 300, which translates to 112 study hours. It is composed of the following components*:

  • In class meetings (six two hour meetings + one flexible hour around a meeting = 18 hours).

  • Preparation of meetings and literature study (20 hours).

  • Journal entries (including time to reflect) and responses to other students’ entries in subgroups of five students (53 hours).

  • Final product: creative work (20 hours).

  • Extraction wrap (1 hours).

  • These numbers are an indication and can differ per student. Each student is required to spend the 112 study hours but can allocate time to specific parts based on personal preferences/ selected methods as long as they meet the requirements.

Assessment methods

The following components need to be completed sufficiently:

  • Preparation of meetings.

  • Active on campus** participation during all six meetings.

  • Journaling entries and responses to other students’ entries in subgroups (quality and quantity should met the requirements).

  • Final product: creative work.

  • Final presentation of final product.

  • Extraction wrap.

** Online attendance is only allowed if you are abroad.


During the plenary and subgroup sessions, the English language is used. We do however understand that it can be easier to journal in your mother tongue and for many of our students that is another language. We therefore allow you to record or write in your mother tongue, as long as you also provide a summary or translation for your peers so they can give feedback. We encourage groups to find a balance between staying as close to your own style as possible, whilst making the most out of the group process.


The skills predominantly covered in this course are shown in bold:

Researching Collaborating Reflecting
Analysing Oral communication Independent learning
Generating solutions Written communication Resilience
Project-based working Presenting
Digital skills Societal awareness


Date Time Location** Tentative program
06-10-2023 15:00-17:00 Leiden, Pieter de la Courtgebouw Session1
24-11-2023 15:00-17:00 Leiden, Pieter de la Courtgebouw Session 2
19-1-2024 15:00-17:00 Leiden, Pieter de la Courtgebouw Session 3
23-2-2024 15:00-17:00 Leiden, Pieter de la Courtgebouw Session 4
22-3-2024 15:00-17:00 Leiden, Pieter de la Courtgebouw Session 5
03-5-2024 15:00-17:00 Leiden, Pieter de la Courtgebouw Final presentation

** Online attendance is only allowed if you are abroad

Admission requirements

This elective course is for Honours College Science, Society, and Self students in their third year. This course covers the whole academic year.


You receive an invitation and registration form for this course from the Honours College FSW.

Contact information

You can e-mail the course coordinators via


Brightspace will be used for all communication around the course as well as for submission of all journal entries and peer to peer responses. Announcements about (changes to) the course are made in Brightspace. Students are advised to check Brightspace regularly to remain informed about meetings, schedules, and details of assignments. Lecturers assume that all students read information posted on Brightspace. Students who have applied will be enrolled by the SSC. Due to the nature of this course, having regular access to Brightspace is essential to be able to successfully complete this course.