You’ll know its finals time at Loyola Law School by the smell of free coffee in the air and the sight of puppies roaming the campus grounds.
While the Law School takes exams seriously, it does the same with its students’ wellness. At the direction of Dean Michael Waterstone, it has expanded its offerings for students to unwind during exams and throughout the academic year.
“We are all intently focused on how we can support students,” says Dean Waterstone. “That is the type of community that we have always been and will always be.”
That has never been more apparent this year, when a laundry list of programming is being offered to help students throughout the year. Additionally, the newly remodeled Loyola Social Justice Law Center provides students new study and relaxation space to keep anxiety at bay.
“We remind students of ongoing resources such as psychological counseling, campus ministry and yoga classes,” says Senior Assistant Dean for Student Services Linda Whitfield. “We want to encourage students to strive for health and wellness while maintaining a sense of balance during law school.”
As a 1992 Loyola alumna, Whitfield is familiar with the pressures of exams. Under her leadership and in concert with the Dean’s Office, Whitfield oversees a wealth of Student Services exam-time offerings:
- Finals care packages from the deans on Nov. 29
- Guided meditation session hosted by Student Affairs and the Career Development Office on Dec. 1
- Study breaks with puppies on Dec. 6 and Dec. 7.
The programming appears to be paying off. “The deans providing finals care packages is a treat!” said Alexa Horner ’18. “It shows that Loyola cares about our wellness and wants to provide encouragement during this exams. The supplies are definitely an added bonus - we all know an extra highlighter goes a long way!”
Students even create their own exam-support programs, with the Day Student Bar Association sponsoring free coffee and tea for finals. Student groups like the St. Thomas More Law Society assist students in developing their all-important course outlines. Meanwhile, professors host pizza-laden review sessions to lighten the mood once classes are finished for the semester.
Whitfield and her team aren’t the only ones encouraging student wellness. The William M. Rains Library organizes its own finals-related student-wellness programming:
- Relax in the Stacks, free 15-minute chair massages during exams
- Table tennis tournaments against staff and faculty members
- Craft sessions where students can make holiday gifts for friends and family out books and other materials
- Maintenance of Wellness & Convenience Collection specifically designed for study breaks with puzzles, DVDs, soccer balls, coloring books, videogames and more
Loyola’s support for students runs all year long. Throughout the semester, myriad Academic Success programs help students enhance their class-preparation and exam-taking skills.
To better cultivate student relationships outside the classroom, Dean Waterstone is debuting several new initiatives in the spring 2018 semester. Programs include a book club, which will read and discuss “The Underground Railroad,” and a student v. faculty softball game. And on Jan. 20, 2018, all Law School students are invited to attend a half-day Graduate Student Retreat to be held on Loyola Marymount University’s Westchester campus.