written by christopher wang (peace advisor)
In the beginning, I used 1.0mm pens. Writing sentences and formulas on paper would lead to two results: Egyptian hieroglyphs or those weird rectangle shapes you get when your computer can’t read another language’s text. The ink from the large tip would bleed out and obscure the contours of my writing. So I scrapped that plan and started using 0.7mm pens. I found that the results were very much the same. Although I could make out my writing, it wasn’t equaling the effort I put in to decipher it with all the time it took to do so. Finally, I arrived at the 0.38mm, and haven’t looked back since.
Some people would tell me to just write neater. That’s a legitimate argument, except when your professor is lecturing at a pace that is difficult to keep up with, or you want to write down your thoughts in addition to the content, neatness may be sacrificed in order to jot down everything. Basically, the faster you write, the messier it tends to be. I could write extremely neat, but time and my physical ability do not allow me to. Others would tell me to take notes on a computer, but some classes do not allow laptops, and not everyone has a MacBook Air either. I don’t want to carry my 12 lb, 19” ASUS computer to class to take notes. A pen is simply more reasonable.
So now, how does this pen improve your college experience? For tests, professors and GSIs will expect you to write legibly and with organization. The thinness of the ball minimizes merging of the writing so everything will be crisp. It also saves space on the page that would have otherwise been taken up with blockier letters or larger font size which compensates for thicker lines. If you try to draw a tiny “A” with a 1.0mm pen, good luck to you. But with a 0.38mm, it’s actually realistic. Through that, you can save space.
The pen is also ergonomic to a degree. I’ve found it to be more comfortable than other alternatives, like Uniball’s pens. The rubber grip doesn’t slide off. If you’re writing a series of essays for a midterm, hand cramps can be your worst enemy. With this in mind, comfortableness is a key factor in deciding what writing utensil you should use. The more comfortable it is, the more you can write without straining your hand, and that means you can focus more on the content rather than your writing technique.
Finally, it’s pretty cheap for a large bundle of them. I’ve seen designer or novelty pens being used by students believing that they are either good luck or worth the pricetag to justify on something as big as a test. While this is fine, accidents happen and pens may be lost, broken, or run out of ink. The market is huge for Pilot pens and this keeps prices down, which is nice for college students. In the end, it’s all individual choice, and some people may have lucky charms that they prefer for their writing. For general purpose though, I would say that the Pilot G2 0.38mm has served me the most in college and is a wonderful option for those wanting a good standard for writing utensils.