Years ago, when many of us first started public school, beginning students used a 'fat' pencil. About the second or third grade, we graduated to normal sized number 2 pencils. In recent years, the science of ergonomics has discovered that the larger pencil or pen barrel, especially one with a rubberized grip, is less stressful for the hands.
For students who haven’t used pens and pencils for long periods of time in one sitting, and for students who have arthritic hands, ergonomic pens and pencils are worth the money. The comfort of writing with these pens increases the amount of time that you can take notes without hand cramps. Ergonomic pens for college students, especially nontraditional college students, just makes good sense.
Of all the ergonomic pens available, I have experience with three different ergonomic pens/pencils. The Pilot Dr. Grip, the Paper Mate PhD, and the Pentel R.S.V.P.
- Pilot Dr. Grip
- I love the feel of this pen. It is weighted well, and is comfortable to use. The ink is smooth, and ink refills are available. Unfortunately, my experience is that the rubberized section of the barrel starts to break down after six or seven months of use, with small gritty pieces coming off over a period of time.
- Paper Mate PhD
- This pen also is weighted well, has refills available, and is comfortable to use. The ink does not skip on the page. The rubberized section of the barrel does not fall apart and stands up well to consistent and long term use. However, after a year of use, the rubberized section gets loose and makes it harder to grip.
- Pentel R.S.V.P.
- This is the most economical of the three I have experience with. For $5 to $10 you can pick up a multi-pack in a variety of colors—perfect for visual learners to make notes more memorable. While it is refillable, the price is low enough to purchase a new package, if you can’t find the refills locally. The pens are not weighted as well as the Dr. Grip or the PhD pens, but for an economical ergonomic pen, they are an excellent value. Unlike the other two brands mentioned here, the R.S.V.P. pen comes in a large variety of colors and point styles, including roller ball, ball point, gel, and porous point.
Whether you decide to use one of the above ergonomic pens or choose a different brand and style, an ergonomic pen or pencil will increase your comfort and reduce stress on your hands as you take notes in your courses.