Better Grad Student

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40 Days of Tips, Tricks, and Links: Day 2

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Record keeping is a necessary fact of life in research. Much of this record keeping is done by hand in a laboratory notebook using a pen. With this in mind, today’s post is about where the rubber meets the road, so to speak. When you’re writing in a notebook, you need a good pen that can handle the job. Using a crappy pen can work in a pinch, but the better the pen, the more apt you are to actually write something down. When the tools you use don’t work quite as well as you would hope, then subconciously you will take steps to avoid using that tool. In the case of a pen, you may convince yourself that you will remember something you did in lab and therefore don’t need to write it down. Take the time to get a good pen and you will have removed a barrier to you being a better record keeper.

I’m a fan of gel pens for a few reasons. First, they write easily. I can jot down what I need too without applying too much force. This allows me to get down what needs to be recorded and then move onto the next thing. Second, they’re available in way too many colors. This can be useful in certain situations (extreme OCD being one of them), but generally I’ll stick with black, red, and blue. But having the option of many colors is nice. And lastly, if you expand their use to outside of school, they can give you some extra protection when writing checks. This applies specifically to the Uni-ball 207 Gel pen. Frank Abagnale, of Catch Me If You Can fame, recommends these pens for writing checks. If somebody tries to wash your check, they won’t be able to if you’ve used this pen.The ink will be absorbed into the paper of the check meaning a chemical wash will be unsuccessful. This pen is my personal preference, but hopefully you have a good pen available for your own use. If you don’t, then get one pronto!

Please tell me what you think in the comments! Also, if you like what you’ve been reading here, why not sign up at the top of the page to receive emails every time I make a new post. Thank you for reading!

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Written by Taylor M.

March 10, 2011 at 5:59 pm

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