GAP YEAR, Yay or Nay?


    Most students, including me, have considered taking a gap year at least once. This could be for any reason, personal or professional. But what is a gap year and does it affect students?

A gap year means taking a semester or a year off school, usually, after high school to pursue a hobby, travel, gain knowledge, develop a new skill, etc.  However, I must say, the effects of taking a gap year depend solely on student mindset. Taking a gap year can negatively impact students if they are not clear on what to do. There is a potential of wasting time if you don’t have any goals to accomplish in this gap year, transitioning to school can be difficult and traveling can be expensive. You might feel like you are falling behind and your peers are ahead of you. On the other hand, taking a gap year can be very beneficial if you already have a plan on how to spend this year off. Maybe you want to follow a secondary education and receive a certificate. Plenty of students decide to use this year to travel. Traveling and living in another country for a gap year can be a life-changing experience. Immersion in a new culture, learning a foreign language, and seeing the world through new eyes can lead to significant insights into your passions and goals (Mulugeta). Another focus would be volunteering. It is totally up to students how they decide to spend this year off, however, they should ask themselves, what are they trying to learn from the experience. This self-discovery, new experiences, are useful in the long run when students face the work environment. Mentioning all the skills they have developed in the resume, would make a good impression on hiring managers.  

Good News!!! 

There are programs that help students on what to do during this gap year. Planning is necessary but let’s be honest, it can be a real headache. Programs such as Nols, Warriors Academy, etc can save you the headache since they have planned the activities you will partake in. Some of these programs can be pricey however, there are programs like AmeriCorps that provide students from 18-24 years old an all-expenses-paid gap year including accommodation, board, and transportation in exchange for a 10-month commitment to national and community service.

(Mulugeta).Mulugeta, Mikael. “Should You Take a Gap Year?: BestColleges.”, 4 June 2020,

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.

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.

The Color Theory: Luxury Buying and Sneaker Culture

Photo: Ryan Plomp – Unsplash

People are willing to spend high money on sneakers for the hype –  the exclusivity consisting of vibrant colors and unbelievable comfort. We can all agree, spending on luxury items (such as exclusive, high-end sneakers) can boost confidence and egos among many people in “sneaker culture”.

Nicole Anne Pore of Highlight Story points out four potential factors of luxury spending: rationale, self-esteem, accomplishment, and authenticity. 

  • Rationale: Mirrors the impulsive buying experience. Typically, we “over-emphasise the positives and ignore the disadvantages” – simply, if we see something we like, it’s hard for us to find a reason why we don’t want it.
  • Self-Esteem: Simply, we feel better when we treat ourselves. Think about when you buy a new pair of shoes, you feel like you’re floating and got all the swag in the world!
  • Accomplishment: We buy expensive stuff because we want to reward ourselves. Also goes with rationalization, we find another reason why we “deserve” this luxury item.
  • Authenticity: Quality is the main reason why we buy a higher-priced item compared to it’s cheaper counterpart
Photo: Amit Lahav – Unsplash

We all have our own “crutch” or have a collection of some sort when it comes to streetwear fashion. Some may have more long sleeve shirts than short sleeved, some may have more shoes than hats, some may have more plaid patterns than striped patterns, and the list goes on. Personally, I am a huge advocate for collecting sneakers – as you may have guessed by now.

So for all the sneakerheads and sneaker-connoisseurs abroad, how much have you spent on shoes alone in the past year? Some may say it’s worth the price of investment (especially those who plan to resell), and some may say it’s worth the price for happiness and self-esteem.
This had me wondering: Why do people keep buying these high priced sneakers?

Photo: Artiom Vallat – Unsplash

I get it, sneaker culture is poppin’ off right now. And it doesn’t seem to slow down anytime soon, as the price of sneakers keep rising.

People are willing to spend high money on luxury items for a boost on self esteem, achieving a sense of accomplishment, feeling authentic – all which ties to the absence of rationale behind the decision to do so. Jennifer Ross of The American Reporter says, “shoppers feel better about themselves if they can buy more expensive things. It’s as simple as that. It gives them a sense of belonging where there might be insecurity. It reinforces their sense of self in a way that isn’t possible elsewhere”.

Don’t be fooled, though, you can still wear expensive shoes! You don’t have to break your bank account and still find shoes that will fit your style. After all, I’m here to help you look like a star!

For instance, the Nike Kyrie 7’s come in a variety of colors (such as dark and light aesthetics) that will fit into any streetwear – also noting for my fellow hoopers, these shoes are perfect for playing basketball too.

White Air Force 7’s are the perfect fit for any occasion – ask any sneakerhead out there! The shoe design is super versatile and is a classic-look among millennials.

Finally, it may be a little retro, but a pair of Converse Chuck Taylor’s low tops can also go with anything you could possibly wear for any occasion.

Demetrius Jones is a staff writer for The Sting. He is an English major at the University of Baltimore.

Young adults are going back to their childhood homes. Here’s why.

Young adults have recently set a new standard of choosing to live with their parents. Normally, young adults leave their parents’ homes when they set out to establish their own. While many linger around their childhood homes when they complete school, it seems that it’s becoming increasingly common for young adults to stick around their old stomping grounds just a little longer. What may be the reasons for this increasing trend? 

Economic downtown

First, young adults live with their parents as a result of the economic downturn. The outbreak of pandemics such as Covid-19 may prevent young adults from moving to their own homes. When a pandemic emerges, new living arrangements are formed, impacting young adults and overall economic growth, hence preventing them from moving to their new homes.

Most of them are single

Secondly, young adults live with their parents because they are not married. The rise of single young adults and fall of marriage rates force young adults to live with their parents. Even when young adults stay single for a long period, they should not live with their parents.

The old family regression is pleasurable.

When young adults are aging, some routines which have not been there for some time, re enter their life. Such emerging routines during this stage of “adulting” strengthen relationships between parents and their children. Young adults get along very well with their parents compared to what may have happened during adolescence. This creates the likelihood of developing deeper connections and relationships. The likelihood of young adults living with the parents has also been influenced by social factors such as the cultural background.

Feeling of failure

It is hard to shake the fear of failure, which is derived from cultural programming. Many young adults think that getting out of their parents’ house is an essential component of entering adulthood. There seems to be a stigma when they fail to reach such milestones. The impatient tone is the order of the day among young adults. Further, the living standards of young adults may be experienced due to low-income households. In this case, young adults opt to live with their parents since the benefits system would reduce their payments.

It all boils down to economic, psychological, and social factors. Other young adults go back to their parents’ homes due to job loss, a failed marriage, or a desire to help parents who may be in need. 

Personally, I’m still living with my parents and one of the reasons is not being financially stable. This situation has its benefits, however I would much prefer to live alone and have my own privacy.

Artjona Lireza is a staff writer for The Sting.