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Picking the Perfect Pen


One of the first things I heard from my older friends in law school was that you end up “writing ‘til you hand is going to fall off.” I had no idea what they meant until 1L, first semester exams rolled around. Call me old fashioned, but I’m one of those people who thinks better when I handwrite. So I ignored pretty much every email about ExamSoft (plus, who wants to spend MORE money…to take an exam?!). Come exam time, I most definitely wrote ‘til my hand was going to fall off.

That experience led to a few conclusions for me. First, I’m pretty sure, given a semester to “prepare” I could write a short novel in 8 hours. Second, if you like to spread out when you take exams, the handwriting room is never, and I mean NEVER full. And finally, a good pen or pencil is your best friend. – I should mention, I tend to handwrite class notes, too. It makes the concepts sink in more.

Needless to say, I’ve gotten pretty good at picking out pens. At any given time, I have at least 10 or so in my school bag, probably in 8 different colors. Honest.

First, you’ve got to pick what type you want. Ballpoint, rollerball (my personal favorite), felt tip, gel, fountain, permanent… I think there are even “anti-gravity” pens that will write in space (because that’s where I take most of my notes).

Second, what color? It may sound silly but the color of your pen can be really important. If you underline your textbooks like I do (long story short, I ended up with a brown highlighted Contracts book – it was underline or nothing at that point), the same “different colors for each case part” scheme applies.

Third, how fine or bold do you want the line? For me, this is key. I love “micro” or “extra fine” and given my choice, will only write with those types. I found an “Extra Micro” once…it was a little too much.

Fourth, how much do you want to spend? 
The world of pens is remarkably large and has everything from those $2.00 Bic ballpoint ones to – no joke – several hundred dollar, super-fancy fountain pens.

My personal favorite, after spending an embarrassingly long time in the pen aisle at Office Depot (usually with one Krista Fleegle): Uni-ball Vision, or Vision Elite, in Micro, preferably in blue or green.

Happy shopping and writing!

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