Here’s How to De-Stress for Finals

Photo: EnergepicPexels

That week of the semester is here: FINALS. This time of your “academic experience” is always dreadful, nobody seems to enjoy finals – unless you are Jimmy Neutron or other geniuses on television. Nonetheless, we’re all essentially students here (or if you are just reading along by) you can’t avoid these terrifying exams. As the saying goes, “a healthy mind, keeps a healthy body”. It’s vital that we take care of our mental health during this time of the academic year. Essentially, everyone wants to do well on their finals, but there is a better way to prepare than pounding energy drinks at 2 A.M. in the library. Take it from a student who is approaching in her final semester at UBALT – you can manage your stress level and still come out on top.

First of all, SLEEP. You hear it all the time. It seems like there is not enough time in the day to sleep for 6-8 hours, while studying for final exams. But making time to sleep can improve your academic performance. Don’t stay up late cramming, instead, start studying earlier so you can get your beauty rest! Time management is key here, as we’re all accustomed to it.

Second off, exercise and stay hydrated. Not only does this help you burn calories and help you get that “summer bod”, but (for some) it can be a form of therapy to take your mind off the workload. Working out releases endorphins (a chemical your body produces) which can make you feel positive and happy. This doesn’t mean you should go to the gym and pump some iron, you can also go for a jog outside, attend a yoga class, ride a bike, or play pick-up basketball. Either way, any physical activity (or at least breaking a sweat) can definitely provide a temporary escape from your responsibilities.

Even if you decide to go to the gym, keep in mind that hydration is also important. This can help boost your performance (mentally and physically) and regulate body temperature (for those having anxiety and sweat perspiration). There are lots of benefits to drinking water – that’s why your Mom and your doctor reiterates this so much.

Pro Tip: make sure to have a water bottle with you when you study!

Last, take breaks while you’re studying. Most students study for hours on hand, not leaving any space for their brain to rest. During these breaks, maybe grab a healthy snack and take a walk outside. You can even try listening to some calm meditation-style music. You don’t want to overwork your brain before a big test or presentation. Chances are, you’re not retaining as much information as you think when you pull an all-nighter or 24-hour study session in the library.

And finally, (for the love of God) do NOT procrastinate. I know it’s cliche, but sometimes simple reminders like this helps an ordinary girl like me. That text message and that notification on social media can wait. Stay focused and study on! Learn to balance your mentality, so you won’t feel burnt out and unmotivated to do anything. It’s okay to take breaks, but don’t prolong them.

Charles Dickens once said, “procrastination is the thief of time.” The majority of college students have procrastinated at some point and time (guilty). You will not accomplish what you wanted and you will feel guilty when the results come back.

Artjona Lireza is a staff writer for The Sting. She is a Digital Communications student at the University of Baltimore.

Dr. Helen Fisher, biological anthropologist and advisor, to speak at UB

Helen Fisher. Courtesy:

Can the Covid-19 pandemic actually be conducive to finding that special someone? A leading expert on love says yes. 

On Monday, April 12 at 5:30 PM, Dr. Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist and Chief Scientific Advisor, will be presenting her research on coronavirus-era dating, falling in love, and attraction during a virtual event at the University of Baltimore. After her presentation, she will be answering questions from the audience. 

Fisher’s optimism comes from her five decades of research as a biological anthropologist focusing on attraction, a career that has even led her to placing couples in brain scanners to observe their brains in love. Another possible source could be marrying her longtime partner and  journalist John Tierney in September of this past year. 

Fisher joined as Chief Scientific Advisor in 2005 to deepen their understanding of scientific processes at play which leads two people to fall in love. Since then, she has played a pivotal role in conducting the company’s annual “Singles in America” survey, a comprehensive study of dating habits and behaviors of thousands of singles across the country. 

A senior fellow at the Kinsey Institute, Indiana University, Fisher has authored six books, including the widely popular Why Him? Why Her?: How to Find and Keep Lasting Love, published in 2009. In esteemed publications such as the New York Times, she has written about the evolution, biology, and psychology of human sexuality, monogamy, adultery and divorce, gender differences in the brain, the neural chemistry of romantic love and attachment, human biologically-based personality styles, why we fall in love with one person rather than another, hooking up, friends with benefits, cohabitating, and the future of relationships – a term that she has coined: slow love.

In addition to an enormous volume of writings, Fisher is a world-recognized speaker having delivered numerous TED talks and addressed high profile audiences, such as the World Economic Forum, Goldman Sachs, Visa, American Express, and Goldman Sachs, Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and countless other universities and institutions of higher learning. 

First and foremost, says Fisher, she considers herself to be an educator. “I’m so excited for the opportunity to share my knowledge and research with the students at the University of Baltimore,” said Fisher.  

This event, co-sponsored by Psi Chi, the psychology honors society, and The Sting is open to UB students, faculty, alumni, and the general public. You can register here

Leonard A. Robinson is the president and editor-at-large of The Sting.

History Club holds discussion on Covid-19 vaccinations

The University of Baltimore’s History Club hosted a discussion with students Tuesday evening about how and why people should get the Covid-19 vaccine. 

The event coincided with expansion of vaccine eligibility. Starting Tuesday, individuals 16 years and older with preexisting conditions became eligible to receive the vaccine as Maryland moved to phase 2B of its vaccine rollout. 

Aside from the folks in phase 2B, frontline workers, anyone working in education or health care, individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities, government employees, grocery store employees, and anyone over 60 were previously eligible for vaccination.

The discussion featured comments from four students who have already been vaccinated, who noted how they were able to make an appointment and why they chose to get the shot.

“I do grocery delivery part time and I was part of phase 1C. I went on to the UMMS coronavirus website and filled out the pre registration form” said Ted Bundi. Although appointments didn’t initially populate, after refreshing the page a few times Bundi was able to schedule a time.

For Derek Chavis, who works as a substitute teacher, getting the vaccine was a matter of safety. 

“I knew at some point we were going back into the building. For me it was never a question. There was a very interesting realization that set in because [eligibility] didn’t include substitutes” said Chavis. “I’m not going back in that building until I know I’m safe”

All of the students noted some sort of issue with being able to find an appointment. In most cases, appointments were only found through someone in the students’ network. Dr. Joshua Davis, director of the history program who spearheaded the event, gave similar advice.

Starting April 13, vaccine eligibility will expand to phase 2C, which includes all Marylanders over age 55 and essential workers in critical industries. Starting April 27, all Marylanders over age 16 will be able to get vaccinated.

Dr. Davis shared myriad options for people who are interested in getting the vaccine. Maryland OneStop allows users to pre-register for an appointment at one of Maryland’s mass vaccination sites online or by calling 1-855-MD-GOVAX.

Appointments can also be made at local pharmacies, including chains like Walgreens, CVS and RiteAid both online and over the phone.

However, there are specific times and days that tend to work better than others for making appointments, according to the crowdsourced Facebook group Maryland Vaccine Hunters. The group has a spreadsheet that provides detailed information on the best practices for making appointments. 

Through the Facebook group, those having extended issues making appointments can also get help from people who may be more tech savvy. Overall though, it’s a matter of patience.

Although the three vaccines available have all been proven safe, misinformation has made some people hesitant to get the shot. Events like the History Club’s are aiming to dispel some of that.

The CDC says, “All COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the United States have been shown to be highly effective at preventing COVID-19”

Tony Sheaffer is editor-in-chief for The Sting.

Best Food Spots Around UBalt

Photo: Louis Hansel – Unsplash

Aren’t you tired of trying to find a place to eat around UBALT? Well, lucky for you because I have a few suggestions for you. 

If you are a breakfast person and want to grab something quick near school, Belvedere Bagels and Grill is the perfect spot for you! Only a few blocks away from our campus, this place offers mouth-watering bagels and pancakes – such as Garlic, Salt, Multigrain, Poppyseed, Cinnamon, Raisin, Onion and more! Plus, your traditional homemade blueberry pancakes.

The interior of the restaurant is casual and quite simple. The restaurant has a rating of 4.5 stars on Google reviews – evidently, it is highly favored among alumni and staff here at the university. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, you cannot dine-in but I would not sleep on this place!

If you are into international food, Tapas Teatro Cafe offers a variety of food – from traditional Spanish food to seafood to vegan food. According to The Grub Factory, this restaurant is also rated 4.5 stars. 

“SO good! The vegan food here is impressively good! I eat mostly vegan (and sometimes vegetarian), and this food rivals (and surpasses) many I’ve had. We ordered a sandwich, vegan mac ‘n cheese with coconut bacon and each had a Kombucha to split. Flavorful. This food is made with love. Delicious. Seating is limited inside. You can order to take out. My recommendation would be to arrive early as this place gets busy, fast, a testament to how good this place is! We arrived around 5 o’clock, and it filled up quickly, and within half an hour had at least a dozen people arriving to pick up take-out orders. Highly recommend this place!!!” says one of the reviewers commented on The Grub Factory.

When you walk inside Tapas, you can’t help but notice the artwork and their captivating decor. The theme revolves around Spanish, African and Egyptian culture (including an artist named Docta Toonz). Definitely check this place out!

Sammy’s Trattoria is one of my personal favorites – since my tenure at UBALT. I consider this restaurant as one of the hidden gems in Baltimore. The simple ambiance is bolstered by traditional Italian food and a great selection of adult beverages. This is a great place to dine with old friends and meet new ones. If you love Italian food as I do, you must try their brick oven pizza. The taste is immaculate and (of course) very different from an electric oven pizza. Sammy’s Trattoria is also a few blocks away from the student center – approximately 0.2 miles away. You will be able to relax and enjoy some great food during your leisure time and in between classes once campus opens back up again in the fall. 

Other food places that I would recommend are 

  • Turp’s Sports Bar & Restaurant
  • Dukem Ethiopian Restaurant
  • Cafe 1908
  • Never On Sunday

Bon Appetit!

Artjona Lireza is a staff writer for The Sting. She is a Digital Communications student at the University of Baltimore.

President Schmoke plots a return to campus during University-wide town hall

President Schmoke is plotting a return to campus at University of Baltimore, according to remarks made during a campus-wide town hall on Thursday. 

Designed to discuss feasibility of re-opening, he also addressed concerns around faculty and staff testing requirements as well as HVAC updates across various campus buildings.

President Schmoke opened the meeting with an expression of gratitude, saying “I just want to thank everybody – faculty, staff and students – for their patience first of all, and their creativity over the past few months.”

University of Baltimore, said Schmoke in prepared remarks, should be able to return to in-person learning in some capacity. “We are more confident in talking about the likely situation for the University in August than the likely situation for the University in April,” Schmoke said.

Two factors would be at play for a return to in-person learning, however: vaccination rates must remain stable and Baltimore City regulations must not impede expanded access to campus. 

Resuming on-campus learning in August wouldn’t mean switching back to life before the coronavirus. There will be set priorities for different programs and courses.

Angelos Law School students would be of the highest priority in order to fulfill accreditation requirements followed by courses with a lab element and those necessary for graduation. The Angelos Law school, in the near future, will also have extended hours for students to be able to come in and study. 

Additionally, a professional assessment of UB’s buildings was being conducted and included expanded testing for both air and water quality. Upon completion, the assessments would be used to complete necessary system updates. 

This won’t come without a hefty price tag, notes UB chief financial officer Beth Aymot, who referred to the amount as “considerable” when pressed for additional details. Fortunately, she adds, the University has “sufficient funding set aside” from the CARES Act to cover the costs.

Schmoke and other University leaders noted additional initiatives to maintain campus safety. 

Both a nurse practitioner and a “symptom tracker” will be employed to administer Covid-19 tests and check students, faculty, and staff for symptoms. Doing so, adds Schmoke, allows for the Bogomolny Library to expand their hours with a reservation system as the Campus Pantry and Career Closet relocates to that space. 

An online dashboard will be available for everyone to see case numbers at the University with professors having the flexibility to switch to a virtual learning environment, if necessary. 

Spring commencement will be virtual, as outdoor venues remained too cost prohibitive for the University, but President Schmoke and others remain optimistic that fall commencement could be in The Lyric auditorium. 

Leadership also announced that signs and markers would be placed across the University to remind people about social distancing and mask wearing. “All of our security ambassadors are [going to be] checking people as they enter and move through the building[s],” said Vice president of capital planning and campus operations Neb Sertsu.

During the town hall, numerous participants expressed concern about how disrepaciencies in guideline adherence would be handled upon returning to campus. A community based approach, Sertsu said, will be key to ensuring that guidance is followed. “I think it’s going to be all of us sort of reminding people it’s a necessity” he continued.

“We have no hesitancy about intervening and removing that person from campus” President Schmoke added in response to participants. 

Registration, due to possibly returning to in-person learning, has also been delayed to provide the University with more time to hammer out logistics, said an email sent to students on Friday. 

Priority registration will begin on April 12 and general registration will not begin on April 16.

You can watch the town hall in full here.

Tony Sheaffer is editor-in-chief for The Sting.

U.S. News and World Report ranks Merrick School of Business for tenth consecutive year

For the tenth year in a row, the University of Baltimore has earned the U.S. News and World Reports “Best Online Programs” ranking in the category of “Best Online MBA.” UB is among five Maryland-based programs which made the list in 2021. 

The online MBA program offered at UB’s Merrick School of Business existed years before U.S. News and World Report established their ranking system in 2012.

The University’s program in the Merrick School of Business is the only school in the state of Maryland that has consecutively been ranked since U.S. News initially began reporting on them.

This year UB comes in at #100, tied with notable institutions including Northeastern University and Temple University. The university also garnered a ranking of #63 for having the best online MBA program for veterans. 

Among all institutions, public and private, the program ranks #4 in the Baltimore/Washington area. When just looking at public universities, UB’s online MBA ranks #2 in the Baltimore/Washington area and #71 nationally.

The growing importance of this ranking is proven through the National Center for Education Statistics. Nearly 31% of U.S. graduate students enrolled solely in online education programs in the Fall of 2018. 

UB faculty expertise in online course development, coupled with students’ prior understanding of online course procedures and expectations, made the forced transition to an online platform by Covid-19 all the more successful, when compared to the vast majority of other online MBA programs. 

Dr. Murray Dalziel, Dean of the Merrick School of Business, had a strong influence in creating both UB’s and Towson University’s MBA programs when he came to Baltimore in 1994.

“I am really happy that once again we are recognized by U.S. News and World Report in their “Best Online MBA” rankings. The Merrick School of Business had the first AACSB accredited fully, online MBA in the world. We’ve been doing this since 1998,” Dalziel said.

“But our faculty are still innovating because we recognize that most of our MBA students are working professionals and they want the flexibility to choose whether to study anywhere they are, at a time of their choosing, or in a classroom, or in-person sessions with groups via Zoom.”

The U.S. News ranking methodology focuses on five areas of evaluation.

30% of the ranking is based on Engagement. Programs must uphold participation standards, giving students opportunities to interact with their instructors and fellow classmates as if they were in person. 

25% is based on Expert Opinion. This includes a survey of high-ranking academic officials in MBA programs which account for factors that can’t be quantified. Students may find more job opportunities when completing programs that academics respect.

15% is based on Faculty Credentials and Training. Programs need to retain instructors with academic credentials that are similar to those who teach on-campus courses. They must also have the resources to train instructors so they can provide students the proper on-campus experience. 

Another 15% is based on Student Excellence. This looks at the outcomes of coursework and final grades, as well as what students are able to accomplish after they receive their degrees.

The final 15% is based on Student Services and Technologies. Programs should be able to incorporate diverse learning technologies that allow lenience for students who are learning online. These services provide academic and career assistance and financial aid proportionate with comparable campus-based programs.

With Covid-19 pushing more and more students to online platforms for higher education, U.S. News and World Report‘s rankings help identify schools that stand out based on their stellar online programs.

The Merrick School of Business’ continued ranking as one of the Best Online MBA programs is an important distinction, given that it reflects the program’s ability to meet the needs of a diverse student body. 

Graham Antreasian is a staff writer for The Sting.