- Fountain pen advantages (1:09)
- Fountain pen drawbacks (5:26)
- Notebook recommendations (6:18)
- Writing comparisons (Rhodia/Mead) (14:06)
- Pen recommendations (16:06)
- Ink recommendations (18:49)
- Highlighter recommendations (21:53)
Fountain Pen Advantages
There are some distinct advantages to using fountain pens as a student.
- They're more economical over the long haul, mainly because the cost of ink (per volume) is much lower than ballpoints or rollerballs, though it does take a while to reach a break even point if you're having to invest in the pen, ink, and paper all at once.
- Writing notes with fountain pens is fun. This is debatable of course, but many would argue that using a smooth-flowing fountain pen with bright and saturated inks is far more interesting than scratching away with a ballpoint.
- Helps you retain. Not only does writing longhand fire off more synapses in your brain, but putting the laptop away and breaking out the pen will allow you to focus more on what the professor is saying. It's been a little while since I've been in school, but Facebook came out when I was in college and I know how many people completely ignored what was being said in class because of social media distractions!
- Can make you stand out to your professors. A fair number of teachers and college professors shop with me, and they tell me how much they appreciate handwriting. Many of them even encourage their students to write with fountain pens, or gather up little pen meet ups for fountain pen fans. While surely this benefit is a little more of a long-shot, if both you and your professor happen to be into pens, it gives you something good to build rapport with them.
- Keeps your hand from cramping. Because fountain pen ink is water-based and flows more freely than ballpoints and rollerballs, little to no pressure is needed when writing. This allows you to relax your hand and write for longer periods without cramping. And if you're writing longhand, you can probably write faster, too.
Fountain Pen Drawbacks
Nothing is life is perfect, and fountain pens have their own challenges. I'm a realistic guy, and want to give you fair warning about maybe why you might not want to bother with these types of pens in school.
- They require planning. You have to keep the pens filled, and clean them out periodically. Like any other non-disposable device, you have to maintain them if you want them to last. This might be an adjustment for some.
- They require more responsibility. Fountain pens are more of an investment, so you want to be more careful where you leave them and how you treat them. Really nice ones will be targets for stealing, so keep track of them and don't leave them lying around in random places. Really nice pens should be treated as such, and not just tossed into a backpack along with your keys, gum, and bottle opener.
Now for some product recommendations. These are ones based on what has sold well for my company in the past during back-to-school time, what I've heard others recommend, and what I personally find most useful. I'll bullet point out my top recommendations, but keep in mind there is much more comprehensive information if you click on each hyperlink. Enjoy!
Clairefontaine C8267, only 8.5"x11" notebook we have
- Clairefontaine C8267, #1 frontrunner by far
- Clairefontaine C69741 and others like it
- Clairefontaine C8155 and others like it
- Rhodia R18601 and others like it
- Rhodia side-wirebound pads
- Apica SW-40 wirebounds
Now of course, these are just some of the products that I personally recommend and based off what's been most popular during back-to-school times at GouletPens.com. There are a whole host of other pens, ink, and paper that could work better or worse for you. I'd love to have some conversation going in the comments about what does/doesn't work for you in your academic settings. My goal is just to give those of you who really don't know where to start some idea of where to get started if you want to make fountain pens a part of your schooling.