Espaces Flex: McGill Law students (re)discover Chancellor Day Hall

March 2021

Quatre étudiant.e.s assistent ensemble au cours que la professeure Johanne Poirier enseigne à distance cet hiver.
Quatre étudiant.e.s assistent ensemble dans la salle 201 au cours que la professeure Johanne Poirier enseigne à distance cet hiver.

In response to the need expressed by many students for work space outside their home, the Faculty of Law recently opened its doors to a limited number of students for the first time in 2021.

By Claire Loewen

On February 8, as the public health situation in Montreal began to stabilize and the provincial government relaxed restrictions surrounding postsecondary institutions, the Faculty was pleased to open “flex space” for law students in New Chancellor Day Hall.

Initially consisting of three classrooms for individual work, the flex space has since expanded to include additional rooms for small academic group work. Whether individually or in small groups, students sign up in advance for half-day or full-day blocks of time during which they can follow and participate in Zoom classes, catch up on readings, work on group projects, or study for upcoming assessments.

Kim-Lan Dam, 3L, in room 200, wearing a procedural mask
Flex space monitor Kim-Lan Dam: “The atmosphere puts me in the right frame of mind to concentrate on my work. Other students enjoy the space because booking a slot at the flex space allows them to block off time to focus solely on their studies. They also get to enjoy the company of their friends as they work at a safe distance from one another.”

“It is wonderful to see familiar faces and new ones as well”

The response from students has been overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic.

The flex space has allowed many first year students in the BCL/JD program to meet each other in-person for the first time, and a number of graduate students reported that the newly opened space brought them onto campus for the first time as McGill Law students.

Emma Pritchard, a 1L student who also works as a monitor, says the flex space has already had an important impact on her academic experience.

“Having a change of scenery is really helpful in terms of productivity. Even working in the presence of other students is very motivating,” Pritchard told Focus online. “I’ve been able to attend virtual classes and events at the same time as my friends in the study space, which has also been wonderful!”

Pritchard adds that the opening of classrooms for small groups of up to six students was a particularly welcome addition. “It’s an experience I know most of us have really been missing and will genuinely benefit from, both socially and academically,” Pritchard said.

For Kim-Lan Dam, a 3L student and monitor, walking through the mostly empty building for the first time in a year felt somewhat bizarre.

“Although the space still feels quite empty, it is wonderful to see familiar faces and new ones as well,” Dam said.

She says studying at the flex spaces has vastly improved her concentration and efficiency.

“The atmosphere puts me in the right frame of mind to concentrate on my work and eliminates the distractions I have at home (a snoring cat, noisy neighbours, construction, etc.),” Dam said. “Other students enjoy the space because booking a slot at the flex space allows them to block off time to focus solely on their studies. They also get to enjoy the company of their friends as they work at a safe distance from one another.”

Amélioration de santé mentale

Léonie Bourdeau, une étudiante en deuxième année, se dit extrêmement satisfaite à l’égard des nouveaux espaces, auxquelles elle s’inscrit plusieurs fois par semaine pour effectuer du travail individuel.

« Venir à la faculté fait maintenant partie de ma routine. Ces espaces me permettent de faire une réelle séparation entre ma vie scolaire et ma vie privée, en plus d’améliorer ma productivité, » déclare Bourdeau. Il n’est donc pas surprenant que Bourdeau ait constatée une amélioration en ce qui a trait à sa santé mentale depuis son retour présentiel à la Faculté.

En plus, les aspects sociaux qui accompagnent le fait d’être au cœur du Pavillon Chancellor-Day ont fait une grande différence pour Bourdeau.

« Au cours des dernières semaines, j’ai renoué avec des connaissances et des amis dans ce cadre sécuritaire, ce qui m’a fait réaliser à quel point ces relations sont centrales à l’expérience universitaire.

J’ai aussi rencontré des étudiants de premières années qui sont d’autant plus reconnaissants de cette première « rentrée » scolaire, » a dit Bourdeau.

Bien que la Faculté préférerait accueillir la totalité du corps étudiant au quotidien, nous nous réjouissons de constater que la présence de nos étudiant.e.s ranime, progressivement et en toute sécurité, l’esprit du Pavillon Chancellor-Day.


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