The first step to success in college is note taking. A large portion of college classes is just taking notes and jotting down ideas. Students may write hundreds of pages of notes in their college career but the first step towards a good page of handwritten notes is what pen you choose to do the job.
When you walk into the office supplies aisle of your local Walmart or the pen isle of your favorite office supply store, there are quite literally hundreds of pens to choose from. Choosing the perfect pen is a matter of trial and error. There are many key factors that come into play when choosing which pen is best suited for your hand. Some of these are, do you like a bold line? Do you prefer a no smear pen as you highlight your notes? What kind of grip do you prefer? Even, how much you are willing to spend? Those are just some of the questions that you may have when choosing your perfect pen. In a poll done by the JTAC Instagram, ballpoint pens received the top votes.
“Ballpoint, [because they are] smooth,” Michaela Hanson said.
Having a pen you like is one of the keys to good note taking. For me, finding a favorite pen has been a struggle. For the longest time, my go to note taking pen has been the BIC Cristal Xra Bold. This pen is a ballpoint pen, and it comes in many fun colors you can customize your notes with. This pen, in particular, features a 1.6 mm very bold line and is an extremely smooth writer. I personally write very fast, so this pen allows me to write at my preferred speed without many mistakes.
The BIC Cristal features a clear design, which allows users to easily see how much ink is left and when it is time to buy more pens. I am a student that enjoys highlighting key points of my notes and this pen does not extensively smear when highlighting. Not to mention the great price point, as you can buy a 24 count of assorted colors on amazon for just $4.72 plus shipping if you are not an Amazon Prime member. If you prefer to go to Walmart, these BIC pens are also available for $4.72.
“Flair pens are my favorite because they write smoothly, come in such pretty colors, and the best part is how long they last,” JTAC Creative Editor, Blake Smith said.
Before I found the BIC Cristal, I was using a different pen made by Papermate. This pen was a Papermate Flair Felt tip pen. This pen is a 0.7 mm pen which was similar to what size line I wrote with in pencil. This pen offered many different colors which made it easy to customize my notes. The only downside I found is that felt tip pens tend to dry out easier which means that you have to buy more pens more often, and that is a hassle to do especially when a pack of 12 costs a whopping $10.28 on Amazon plus shipping if you are not a member of Amazon Prime. If you prefer to go to Walmart, the same pack will cost you $12.76.
“[Using a gel pen is] like using paint,” Alvaro Muñoz said.
Recently, I have found myself liking gel pens as they are more precise when it comes to writing and it has bold dark lines. My pen of choice for a gel pen is a Pentel EnerGel RTX Liquid Gel Pen. This pen will be your classic black ink pen. As I have taken more notes throughout my years as a college student, I found that this pen in particular has it all for me. When a highlighter is used, it does not smear at all when writing which is a huge bonus for me as a student and a left-handed writer.
It can be found in a few other colors as well. Something even more amazing is this pen is recycled. Pentel has 12 total products that are made through their Recycology line. These products are made with at least 50 percent recycled materials, and over 90 percent of their products offer refills so they never have to be thrown away.
Although it is a little higher in price range, I personally feel that the price is fair since this pen hits all the bases. In addition to all of these fabulous features this pen is also found in 0.3 mm, 0.5 mm, 0.7 mm and even 1 mm. So surely you will find a size that will work for you. On Amazon you can find this pen in a pack of three for $7.64. If you prefer to go to Walmart, the same pack is listed for $11.68. In addition, this pen is refillable. If you choose to refill, a box of 12 0.7 mm refills will cost you $12.26 and is available in 19 different colors. If you prefer to shop at Walmart, the refill pack of 12 will cost you $13.20.
Overall, the EnerGel pen has been my favorite this year due to its versatility and the fact that it is recycled. If you are looking for your new favorite pen, I would highly suggest you try one of the pens mentioned above. Although it has taken me three years of college to find which one is my favorite pen brand, I can confidently say that the Pentel EnerGel RTX pen deserves a giant gold star.