You're probably more confused than before, following the responses you got. But, be advised, they're all absolutely right. Your sensibility is what matters; you print on what your vision/look dictates. If your class (or instructor) has a preference for matte papers (for uniformity's sake), then you need to conform to that.
Outside of class, experiment as much as you can to find what you'll eventually prefer and be comfortable with. With time, you'll probably also want to experiment with different paper developers and toners, as well, to match a paper personality (again, very subjective on your part).
But don't drive yourself nuts over this issue; concentrate and focus (no pun intended) on your image-making. Remember, "Less is More" -- choose one or two papers to work with, and master the art of printing. As for ancillary markings (dust spots, etc.), learn the craft of spotting.
Freestyle Photographic Supplies (http://www.freestylephoto.biz/) carries numerous fine printing paper brands and finishes from around the world. See if you can get some "sampler" packs, or go to your local retailer and find out if they can show you some printed samples -- there might be sample books on display.
Also, go visit photo exhibitions (if accessible in your area), and see what other people are using. You'll see an immense variety of preferences. I was very fortunate as an undergrad to have gone through an internship with the Prints and Photographs Division of The Library of Congress in Washington. First-hand, up-close access to thousands of historical and contemporary portfolios gave me an education and appreciation that I'll cherish the rest of my life. You learn a lot about what "subjective tastes" means, as well as what image-making materials are available to whom and when. But, this is a completely different discussion.
I personally prefer glossy, fiber-based papers, on the warm side, and selenium bath. But that's me.
Hope this helps. Best of luck to you... and most important, enjoy!
Yes, good archival practices are very important to mention especially with FB paper and offering prints for sale through a gallery. Personal and gallery reputation is a precious thing.
Originally Posted by lightwisps
It's easy to say 'you decide' but I sensed brofkand was looking for something a little more concrete than 'let your muse guide you' otherwise he/she would not have made the post!
Many years ago when I asked a similar question I acted on the advice of just get yourself a box of Agfa MCC Glossy and once you have mastered that feel free to go crazy. (Sorry, brofkand but Agfa MCC is no longer available! FOMA and some others now make papers with supposedly similar characteristics.) I appreciated that (pre-internet) advice which got me more focused and disciplined when I had little experience, had difficulty evaluating all the options and was looking for a good practice.
Of course, there is no "right" answer. Pick one of them to start and become good at it! Good luck!