Pens or Pencils, which one do you choose?

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CC license Steven Lilley  “Pens and pencils” via flickr

If one had to choose to write with a pen or pencil for their whole life, which would they choose? For students who chose the pen, they should know that pens have been used for centuries. In fact pens were invented before pencils. Important documents such as the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence have been written in pen. In this day and age many students favor to write with a pencil, but the pen’s consistency and convenience allow students to write more efficiently.
Although most students prefer writing with a pencil, the hassle of sharpening it makes the pen the more convenient choice. Eventually a pencil will become smaller and smaller after many times of sharpening making it a pain for many students to write. After a pencil becomes too short to hold, it is hard to grip the pencil which can be strenuous to write with. Furthermore sharpening pencils can pose a distraction for students. When students are in a quiet testing environment, one may sharpen his/her pencil which can be disruptive to other students who are taking tests. Sharpening pencils wastes time and decreases their productivity. On the other hand pens will always be the same length and don’t need to be sharpened; therefore, students will not be distracted and can get more work done in a shorter amount of time.

The dark, consistent line of a pen makes it easy for students to write, review notes, and photocopy their work without it turning out vague compared to a pencil. Pencils will eventually become dull, so students will need to write with varied amount of pressure. If one were to write with a sharp pencil, they would not need mass amount of pressure when they write and vice versa if the pencil were dull. In contrast pens have a consistent pressure throughout. Pens deliver the consistent dark line every time one writes. Whereas pencils can easily be smudged making it difficult to read and review notes.

Despite the benefits of pens, pencils have their own benefits too. In terms of price, pencils are generally cheaper than pens thus making it a cost effective choice than pens. Now there are mechanical pencils that don’t need to be sharpened. Mechanical pencils write in thin graphite which can mimic the feeling of writing with a pen. Also, one may say that pencils are eco-friendly compared to pens. Pencils are made of natural and renewable materials from the environment. The ingredients in pencils are normally cedar wood and graphite that is made from carbon. These materials can be easily  biodegraded/broken down in landfills; therefore, pencils are ecological for the environment. Pens however are made of plastic, metal, and ink which are not biodegradable because these material are not found naturally in the environment.

Many students also argue that pencils have erasers and pens do not; however, now there are erasable pens which grants the erasability that pens did not have before. Erasable pens don’t need to be sharpened and have the same benefits as a regular pen would have. Although wooden pencils generally cost less than pens, mechanical pencils can cost as much or even more.

Even though pencils are more widely used by students, utilizing pens are far more efficient. There will always be individuals who side with pens or pencils. But for those who choose the pen route, keep in mind that the pen has a lot of history behind it and offers many benefits. Whether it is pen or pencil, at the end of the day it is just how one conveys his or her thoughts on a piece of paper.