From Kent to Case: Why I love being a student in Northeast Ohio

Northeast Ohio is all about options when it comes to the vibe of your neighborhood.

After finishing my degree in public relations at Kent State University, I knew I was headed to law school. The great experiences I had as an undergrad in Northeast Ohio kept me in the region for my next degree. Last fall, I packed up my college-town home and headed Northwest to Cleveland to begin law school at Case Western Reserve University. While my address has changed, the best things about being a student in Northeast Ohio remain true for me.

I shared my favorite Cleveland coffee spots in my last post, and today I’ll share a few more of my favorite things about being a student in Northeast Ohio (besides the top-notch academic programs).

1. The Atmosphere.

Northeast Ohio is all about options when it comes to the vibe of your neighborhood. I loved the traditional college town experience in Kent, but my new home in Cleveland’s Cudell/Edgewater neighborhood has been everything I hoped for in a fun-yet-study-friendly place to live. Thanks to the RTA system, I have a quick, easy commute to University Circle on the Red Line train, skipping the stress and expense of driving and parking.

2. The Deals.

No matter the location, most students’ budgets are a little tight. Luckily for students in Northeast Ohio, some easy-to-find deals give student budgets a little more wiggle room. Where else could you see a production in the largest entertainment district outside New York City for only $10? PlayhouseSquare’s Smart Seats program offers up balcony spots for Broadway shows, comedy, and one-night concerts for $10. Students in particular can also snag discounts and deals for movies at Cleveland Cinemas (who show my favorite cult classics as part of the Late Shift series for only $5) and at many of the area museums. After the show, students can also grab a variety of cheap eats in Northeast Ohio. For under $10, you can enjoy a Mediterranean feast at Frank’s Falafel House on Cleveland’s west side, snack on an unbelievably large burrito at Taco Tonto’sin Kent or Lakewood, or load up on a heap of local produce at one of the area markets, like the Gordon Square Market or the Haymaker Market in Kent.

SEE ALSO: My 5 Favorite Things About Winter Break in Northeast Ohio

3. The Arts.

Northeast Ohio is a perfect place to appreciate, create and learn about art—again on a student’s budget. I am fortunate to have the Cleveland Museum of Art directly across the street from my law school, but Northeast Ohio art does not end at the museums. Spots like the Morgan Conservatory and Zygote Press welcome individuals in to learn about papermaking and printmaking during gallery hours. The Screw Factory Artists’ Studios also welcome the public at bi-annual sales and through beginner art courses in some of the studios. In Kent, students (and the general public) can check out fellow students’, faculty members’ and international artists’ work at the School of Art Gallery on campus and the Downtown Gallery in Downtown Kent display work from students, faculty and national and international artists.


4. The Opportunities.

The best part about being a student in Northeast Ohio for me has been the number of opportunities to get involved with awesome events and organizations in the community. Student on-campus groups are great, but getting to know the community beyond the university setting is what has made Northeast Ohio so special to me. The Cleveland International Film Festival has been my favorite volunteer experience so far. CIFF takes on more than 800 volunteers every year to assist with everything from ushering to ballot counting to VIP catering and more. No matter your interests, living in Northeast Ohio provides the opportunity to get away from the books and out into the community every night of the week.

Ellen Kirtner
Ellen Kirtner

Ellen Kirtner is a second-year law student at Case Western Reserve University and a Kent State University PRKent alumna. When she’s not studying, you can spot Ellen browsing local markets and shops, adventuring around town on the RTA, and eating as much vegan junk food as possible.