Talking from experience, whilst in college there is an awful lot of note taking. This means using a reliable pen, one which writes quickly and smoothly. One that fits the bill is a fountain pen. However, will a cheap fountain pen do the job? Does it matter whether that pen costs $5 or $500? These are important questions to ask yourself.
Firstly, your fountain pen should not have sporadic ink-flow issues that require you to revert back to using a ballpoint too frequently. It also needs to write smoothly on regular notebook paper. There are pens around that refuse to write on anything but the finest cotton paper or in a moleskin notepad. Another aspect to bear in mind is ink smudging. You need to make sure this does not become an issue, especially those of you who are left-handed.
What about nib size? For note taking you would be better off with a fine nib. However, don't go for extra-fine as this tends to be a bit scratchy, you could end up with holes in your notes. I would also recommend you steer clear of italic nibs if you are left handed as they do require to be pulled to have a decent ink flow, and the writing angle probably wouldn't suit you. A round tipped nib is best for all round writing.
If you can, I would also recommend an 18k nib, as they tend to be smoother on porous surfaces and are a big improvement on steel nibs. You also need to bear in mind your own writing style, as if you tend to press when you write a nib with more flex could cause you problems. Try not to press at all when using a fountain pen, try to glide the pen over the paper. You will definitely like the results.
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