All Good Students Follow the Pen Commandments


Maya Marques '26

Caroline Carmicheal ’24 writing using BIC 1.0mm black pen.

Rhea Alexander, Reporter

I believe that pens are far superior to pencils because pencils smudge, they do not erase all the way, and I feel less certain about my work when I write with them; also english teachers have indoctrinated me into only using pens. After diving into my pen-obsessed academic career, I decided I needed to rank them and set the record straight since there are so many conflicting opinions.

Muji 0.38 mm Black ($2.59 per pen)

I bought a set of ten black Muji 0.38 pens around two years ago. I used them religiously and only recently did I run out of them due to the severe and tortuous amount of APUSH work I am required to complete. When I said that I used them religiously I did; I never lost a single one and used each and every one to completion, which I consider one of my highest achievements. About the pen itself: it is a bit on the expensive side, but I believe it is worth the price because the ink does not bleed through the paper, each pen lasts a long time if you do not lose it, you can purchase refills when it runs out, it can puncture skin and cause bleeding, and when you highlight over it, the ink does not smudge. While there are many positives, there are few negatives. I used to get really bad hand cramps when writing with the pens. I could blame the amount of time I am forced to write for timed writings, Biology notes, or just APUSH in general; I could also blame the way I hold my pen, but I am going to blame the pen. The muji 0.38 mm pen has a very sharp and thin point which causes your handwriting to look pristine and intricate, but also causes acute pains to shoot up your hand. There is no gripper on the pen, which also contributes to the sensation of writing almost like you are writing with a mini sword. 

Shamya Freeney ‘24 agreed with the positive opinion of the pen. 

“It is awesome and very helpful. It conserves space and thereby you do not waste as much paper,” Freeney said.

Laura Marques ‘24 also agreed.

“Absolutely stellar quality. Amazing for outlining, and just a fantastic experience all together and a pleasure to use,” Marques said.

Pentel Energel 0.5 mmBlack ($2.99 per pen)

After I sadly used all of my Muji pens, I decided to venture into a different tip point pen because the 0.38 mm was giving me arthritis. I found many positive reviews about the 0.5mm Pentel Energel, so I ordered a pack. These pens have revolutionized my quality of life and dramatically hired my standard for all other pens. I feel like I am painting when I write with these pens. One becomes a true academic weapon while using them. The positives include: they do not smudge even though they are ink gel pens, you can use highlighters over them, they have fine points so they write tiny, they have a comfortable gripper, the ink glides over the paper, and after people borrow it, they are severely jealous of your excellent pen choice. The only downside of the pens is how expensive they are and how quickly they run out of ink.

Andrea Andrade ‘24 commented on the quality of the pen. 

“I really like them, they are my favorite,” Andrade said.

Pilot G2 0.38 mm Black ($2.50 per pen)

When I leave my pencil case at home or am too lazy to get it out of my bag, I ask to borrow one from a friend. I have only on a few occasions been granted the chance to use the 0.38 mm Pilot G2 pen, and each time it has been awe-inspiring. While I do not regard it as highly as the pentel Energel 0.5, it is a very close second. It has the same positives of the Muji 0.38 pen, while it also mitigates the Muji’s shortcomings. The Pilot G2 0.38 mm has a comfortable gripper which prevents your hand from being rendered useless after 13 minutes, the ink does not bleed through the paper, and when you highlight over it, the ink does not smudge. The only feasible downside to the pen is that it looks basic; it has a very similar design to the Pilot G2 0.7 mm because it is the same pen with different tips. I am strongly against the Pilot G2 0.7 mm which has horrifyingly bad quality compared to its cousin the 0.38 mm tip, so the similar look puts me on edge cause I do not know if I am going to write with one of the best or worst pens on the planet. 

Christopher Baker ‘23 spoke about the positives and negatives of the pen.

“It lasts longer but it does smudge when you write because it has such a fine point, and it does not smudge as much when you highlight,” Baker said.“I feel marginally academically better than everyone else.” 

Pilot G2 0.7 mm Black ($2.08 per pen)

The Pilot G2 0.7 mm pens are ubiquitous at FWCD. I have heard others regard this pen as one of the best, but I vigorously disagree with that sentiment. My issue with the Pilot G2 0.7 mm pen is how much it blots. You are constantly on an emotional rollercoaster when you write with it. It is either flowing immensely or scraping against the paper with absolutely no in between; the pen bleeds through the paper and depending on how you hold your pen, the thickness of the line strokes alters. Writing with the Pilot G2 0.7 mm is like writing with the weird calligraphy brush in notability, in which pressing harder does not do anything and the reason behind certain parts of a line being thinner or thicker is indeterminable by any power. The Pilot G2 0.7 mm does not only smudge when you use highlighter over it, but all together ruins the highlighter because the black ink gets mixed in after you use it over the Pilot G2 0.7mm. 

Piper Baine ‘24 agreed with my statements about the pens. 

“I hate the way they write. I hate that they smudge. I hate how inky they are. I hate them,” Baine said. 

Patrick Drez ‘24 disagreed with Piper

“Its high quality, upper class, elite, unparalleled, and makes me have an unquenchable thirst for writing,” Drez said. 

Papermate Gel Ink Joy 0.7 mm Black ($2.06) 

I have the colorful pack of the Papermate Gel Ink Joy 0.7 mm pens and on special artistic occasions I use them. I have no strong opinions about them and believe they are the definition of an average gel pen. There is nothing stunning nor appalling about them. They write smoothly but they smudge and skip a little. They dry out when you do not use them enough, but at the same time they do not make me want my hand to be amputated. 

Kyra Gibbons ‘24 spoke about the Papermate Gel Ink Joy 0.7 mm pen.

“I love my pen so much. It works so well and is very fluid,” Gibbons said.

Paper Mate Flair Felt Tip Pens 0.7 mm Black ($2.62)

When I was in middle school, just about to embark on my pen-obsessed expedition, I convinced my father to buy me a pack of Paper Mate flair felt tip pens because only the cooliest of the cool kids had them. I remember being ecstatic when the package arrived. After receiving them, I conducted countless hours of research, by trying different colored pens on various types of paper, and determined that no other pen was superior. I was extremely protective of these pens; in sixth grade I made another girl cry because she forgot to return one of my precious jewels. While I have not completely grown out of my hyper-fixation on pens, I have matured and learned to assess situations better after entering high school. In my reassessment of the Paper Mate flair tip pens, I have concluded that they were not as magnificent as I once imagined them to be for multiple reasons: they bleed through the paper, they smudge, they are more like markers than pens, they dry out quickly, and they simply lack the wonder and mystery they once possessed. 

“The variety of colors is immaculate but the bleeding through ruins the charm,” Drez said. 

Sharpie S-Gel Pens 0.7 mm Black ($2.45)

The Sharpie S-Gel Pens have milder symptoms than the Pilot G2 0.7 mm pen face. They are inky, have issues with highlighters, and depending on the paper, bleed through. However, the pen’s sleek design is its greatest redeeming quality. It is minimalistic and completely black except for the silver accents; it has ridges on the gripper that adds just enough texture so that your hand does not slip but the gripper also balances the composed theme of the pen. 

“They are very good; however, they sometimes smudge and they sometimes leak a little too much. It is not great for outlining,” Marques said. 

BIC Ballpoint Pen 1.0 mm Black ($0.19) 

The BIC Ballpoint 1.0 mm pen has many positives: they never run out, they do not bleed through the paper because they barely appear on the front side of the paper, you can highlight over them without it smudging, and they make your paper sound crunchy.  The negative is how boring they are but for the price, you get exactly what you deserve. I view the BIC Ballpoint pen 1.0 mm the same as fast fashion. People are wasting precious materials because these pens refuse to run out, are extremely easy to lose, and sold in mass quantities. They are rarely anyone’s favorite which causes them to be tossed aside often because people lack respect for them similar to clothing you wear once tossed aside. 

“I love it because they are cheap and if I lose one I do not care,” Baine said.

Frixion Ball Clicker Retractable Erasable Gel Pen 0.7 mm Black ($2.77 per pen)

The Frixion Ball Clicker Retractable Erasable Gel Pen 0.7 mm pen is a good but not a great pen. It does smudge a little bit; it does not bleed through the paper, and you can highlight over it but I would not recommend it. My biggest issue is how quickly it runs out of ink, but the little fire design on the side of it makes up for all of its shortcomings. 

“They are garbage and too expensive for what it is offering. They are translucent but not in a good way,” Charlotte Comeaux ‘24 said. 

Pilot FriXion Ball 0.7mm Erasable Gel Pens Capped ($2.00 per pen)

When I first came to FWCD I was required to have an erasable pen. The first erasable pen that I used was the Pilot FriXion Ball 0.7mm erasable capped pen which has traumatized me to this day. They smudge, they are ugly, they do not have gripper, they barely even write, and they do not erase. They have the same eraser as a normal pencil which is obscene. 

“It’s a pen. It is THE ugliest pen,” Jackson Grace ‘23 said.