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Man Versus Beast: Survival Guide for the First Look Fair

Dubai. Mount Rainier. Mexico City. The First Look Fair.


What do all of these events have in common? (Besides being proper nouns) They all expose you to new activities, people, and perspectives.

First Look Fair- UMD- 9.16- fl

They’re all also out to get you. The First Look Fair is not a warm or understanding entity. No, it is a chaotic menagerie of bloodthirsty beasts that hunger for your time and energy. They’re competing against each other for one thing, and for one thing only–your soul. They’re like starving lions sharing the same cage. Every time you stop by one booth and take a flyer, you’re potentially starving the recruit-hungry gullets of the other 500 tables.


So the stakes are high for everyone involved–for the clubs, for you, for the professors whose homework will go undone when you get too heavily involved in these clubs, for the trampled-on grass of the Mall. When you go to the First Look Fair, be on your guard against the perils.


Some of these are purely physical–at least 10 Terps a year pass out from dehydration and heat exhaustion at the First Look Fair. Making the full circuit up and down the mall is guaranteed to take at least an hour (and that’s not even counting the time you’ll spend getting lost among the tables). Between this arduous exercise and the hot sun’s beat down, we advise that you bring a bottle of water and sunglasses and skip leg day at the gym for the next week.


And let’s talk about the flyers. Aptly named, they swarm around you like pesky insects. Within five minutes you’ll be physically weighed down by an astounding quantity of colored paper. Not to mention some of the ethical questions they raise–if you refuse to join the environmental organizations but throw their flyers in the recycling bin, is the net sum of your actions helping or killing the planet?

First Look Fair- UMD- 9.16- flyers

Which is another symptom of the First Look Fair–psychological torture. It’s bad enough to feel beaten in body, but the First Look Fair will pull your soul in five different directions. Am I good enough to join this acapella group? If I refuse to join ANY of these volunteer organizations, am I a terrible person? I want to join about fifteen of these clubs, but unless I stop taking classes I won’t have time! The Red Cross? AHHH THIS SCHOOL LITERALLY IS OUT FOR MY BLOOD!”


First Look Fair is not just a two-day ordeal, either. The decisions you so carelessly make this Wednesday and Thursday will haunt you for years to come. “Just give us your email!” Those five innocent words will be spoken so cheerfully, so innocently, with absolutely no foreshadowing of the avalanche of club emails that will soon flood your inbox. We advise you make up a fake address email on the spot and jot that one down on the signup sheet., for example, or

 First Look Fair- UMD- 9.16- emails

Bottom line, we give you advice that has stood the test of time against peer pressure everywhere: Just Say No. No, I don’t really care about starving orphans in third-world nations. No, I don’t actually have the energy to play intramural sports–the truth is, I’d rather watch Netflix in my room. Yes, I really mean it, I’m NOT going to give you my phone number!

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