As a new semester begins, college students face many important choices. One decision that could make or break your success in school revolves around notetaking. For quite some time, academics have debated whether hand writing notes or typing them is a better method. If you visit a typical class, you will discover that more students pick typing as their notetaking choice.
The days when lecture halls were filled with spiral notebooks overflowing with handwritten notes are long gone. Nowadays, there is a significant shift in the preferred notetaking method. All we see in lecture halls are glowing screens from laptops to other electronic devices. But are our classmates making a huge mistake?
According to writing implement retailer National Pen, “Writing is linked to improved creativity, critical thinking and problem- solving.” Not only that, but the company also reports that when students hand write their notes, they retain more knowledge and comprehend information better.
Although typing is much faster than hand writing – and much more convenient – taking notes on a laptop offers endless opportunities for distractions. I’m sure you’ve seen those people watching “Gilmore Girls” on Netflix instead of paying attention to the professor. Certainly, you or I would never do that–but you must admit computer usage is practically an invitation to check your social media accounts when the lecture gets boring.
The paper modality is far less distracting and allows for various highlighters, pens and pencils to use when notetaking. Plus, when taking notes on paper, you can sketch and draw pictures and diagrams to help you understand the information better. Although typing notes allows you to get the lecture down verbatim, when hand writing you are more selective with the information you write down, thus forcing you to process the information more deeply.
Clearly, I believe that handwriting notes is a far superior approach than typing, but I am here to discuss what matters most. The truth is, it does not matter what method you use – what truly matters is the pen you’re using. I know some of you might disagree, but the type of pen you use makes a massive difference in the way your notes are taken. In fact, when it comes to academic success, what matters most is choosing the proper pen.
Let us delve into the world of pens and their rankings. You have your BICS, which, frankly depending on what style you get, are just garbage. These typical ‘back to school’ pens from childhood can be found in a pack of eight at any store. They claim to be ‘made to last’ but, from my experience, when taking notes, the pen almost always sticks to my paper and the ink dries up far too quickly. A close second is the Papermate brand with a wide array of options to choose from. Papermate fills you with a sense of excitement when purchasing back to school supplies, but later that promising pen will leave you filled with disappointment and regret as it bleeds ink all over your first day of lecture notes. You see how a poorly-planned pen purchase can destroy an academic career.
Also, in any instance of notetaking, one must consider not only how the pen allows you to write, but its doodling capabilities. That is where the Sharpie pen comes in. These pens come in various point sizes, as well as colors and never bleed, which allows for prime notetaking – whether that means bullet points of what your professor is saying or making an elaborate doodle of that morning’s lecture. After all, you’re going to have to look over these notes when you study—with the right pen you can leave the future you an inspiring work of art.
I could go on and on about good and bad pens, but suffice it to say that a solid pen really does make a difference. So, remember to take notes in class, leave your laptop in its case during lectures and start your semester off right – buy a nice set of pens.