September 22, 2017

Venturing Beyond PBL: A breakdown of nearby study spots

Stephanie Hagen is a candidate in Weatherhead's MBA program.

With the end of September fast approaching, students are settling into the familiar routine of classes, job/internship hunting, and bemoaning our lack of free time. Where the first-year MBAs generally all share the same schedule, we second-years have scattered to explore different electives. Yet there is one thing we all still have in common: homework. The Peter B. Lewis Building has plenty of inviting study nooks, but with most—if not all—of our classes in PBL, it can be far too easy to never venture beyond the building. Take advantage of the warmer weather (while it lasts!) to check out some of these alternative study spots.


1. The Coffee House
Distance from PBL: 0.2 miles (5-minute walk)

Despite its name, The Coffee House doesn’t have the greatest coffee. What it does offer is plenty of tables, a cozy atmosphere, and decent hours. Come here with a friend for group study—or don’t, you’ll probably run into someone you know.

Go here when: You really need a jolt of caffeine to make it through that evening class; it’s too cold to walk any farther; you don’t mind overhearing someone’s job interview.

2. Kelvin Smith Library

Distance from PBL: 0.3 miles (6-minute walk)

Ignore the scattered tables and comfy chairs near the entrance—head up the curving staircase to the large, well-lit study room on the third floor. Though often busy, it’s usually easy to snag a table; all are equipped with swivel chairs and charging ports. Or, if you need even more focus, there are individual desk pods with shielding walls to guard against that overly talkative friend. Newsflash: Apparently there is also a grad student/faculty-only study room on the second floor, if you get tired of the undergrads.

Go here when: The deathly silence might help you finally buckle down and study for tomorrow’s exam; you’re sifting through an armful of books from the stacks across the hall; you’re tired of PBL but don’t know where else to go (no worries, that’s what this post is for!).

3. Cleveland Museum of Art

Distance from PBL: 0.3 miles (7-minute walk)

Did you know that one of the world’s most visited art museums is just a short walk away—and it’s free? The museum’s spacious, airy atrium brings light to the dreariest of Wednesday afternoons. Check your backpack at the front desk, grab a tandoori wrap from the café, and park your laptop near the perimeter of the densely packed tables. Be aware, it does get busy (and noisy) during peak lunch hours.

Go here when: You could use a break from calculating cycle time to admire Church’s Twilight in the Wilderness; it’s freezing outside but you’re craving sunlight; you don’t mind some ambient noise.

4. Presti’s Bakery

Distance from PBL: 0.5 miles (12-minute walk)

By now you’ve probably heard of Presti’s—the bustling café in Little Italy serving up decadent desserts to a hectic crowd. But it’s a different place in the off hours, when the tables are mostly empty aside from a few older folks enjoying their afternoon coffee, and the soft rock on the radio barely covers the hum from the gelato freezer. Grab a number and pick your poison—is there ever a bad time for pizza by the slice?

Go here when: You’re hungry; your laptop is already fully charged; you can avoid the mealtime rush.

5. Rising Star Coffee

Distance from PBL: 0.6 miles (14-minute walk)

By far the best coffee shop around campus. Satisfy your inner hipster with an Aeropress or pour-over of an exotically named blend like the “Nueva Armenia”—or give in and try one of the delicious specialty lattes. If the tables are full, there’s usually an extra chair at the wraparound counter.

Go here when: You’re in the mood for an excellent cup of coffee; you have time for a bit of a walk; you’ve finally joined the ranks of the cool kids.

This is just a (not-so-random) sample of some of the great places nearby—where is your go-to study spot?

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