By Jonathan Beard
This current fall semester is a notable one for me. It is my last at the college before I graduate and receive my associate degree. With that in mind, I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on my years at Tri-C, from when I began taking classes here in 2022, to now. One year that particularly sticks out to me is last year’s summer semester.
I was feeling good as that summer approached. I had passed my first semester at Tri-C, and aimed to finish by the end of the year. I had a job and was able to pay off both semesters. And while my car was occasionally beginning to give me mechanical troubles, I had a way of getting around. That summer, I decided with the free time I still had on my hands, I would try to get around more. At that time, I mainly spent my time on the East Side, but a journalism course I took in the evening at West Campus opened my eyes to a part of town I wasn’t very familiar with. With that in mind, when I received a U-Pass for the summer semester, I decided to spend that summer travelling around the other side county – and find days to ditch my car completely.
Using Google Maps and some experience I already had, I learned how to navigate RTA’s transit system through Cleveland – from where buses and trains went, to what times certain routes ran – and found places to explore on the West Side. Most of the routes went through Cleveland, and I’d take time to look at the different neighborhoods and spend time in some of them. I developed an appreciation for the availability of public transit, which many cities sadly do not possess on the scale of Greater Cleveland. When I purchased my first photo camera, a DSLR, I took it with me on my trips, photographing parts of the city I’d spent weeks travelling through regularly. It helped me practice my photography, which really came in handy as I had mainly only studied video production during my media courses in high school.
I also learned some of its drawbacks – some routes were not as frequent to be utilized conveniently, with some stops going a full hour between buses, on a good day. And most of the bus lines branch out from downtown. This makes sense for the system but isn’t the most convenient for those travelling further south in the county. My trips from my home to the West Campus, for instance, involved an interchange downtown – which made what would be a 30-minute drive take over an hour – but I didn’t mind too much. I visited many arts of Cleveland on the west side, staying in libraries to work, charge my phone or study.
Overall, my summer semester last year was very impactful, and helped me explore a part of town I hadn’t spent much of my time in beforehand. Now, most of my time in college has been spent at West Campus, though my time here may be short, with my possible college plans taking me further eastward. No matter what happens during the end of this semester, though, I will lookback upon my time here positively, and cherish all the people I got to spend this crucial time in my life with.