How I got my Career Fair swag on

The loot.

The loot. (Recycling bin not included)

The Career Fair is the best day of the year. Why? Because a) the economy is in the shitter, and b) I’m a humanities person.

Therefore, if I’m going to spend the bulk of my twenties sleeping on my parents’ couch, I’m damned well going to take all of these companies’ free shit to play with in the meantime. All of the pictures in this post include only items I got for free at the 2o13 Career Fair. While everyone else was walking around in stuffy suits and handing out resumes, I was in casual Friday attire… on a Wednesday.

As you can imagine, no one was trying to bribe the sophomore English major to join their software tech company, so I was fending for myself. By the time I left, my bag was so large it looked like I had a paisley-patterned Siamese twin. Technically, I didn’t steal anything, but I did manage to look like a huge A-hole.

Though I don’t recommend trying this at home, here’s what I did after the jump.

For beginners: When I discovered the joy of the Career Fair last fall as a freshman, I literally took everything from every single table. Sure, this was fun, but I was left with a surplus of pens and cups. These typical giveaways are nice, but I classify them as beginner. They are the easiest to get your hands on, and the world isn’t running out of free pens.

Rookie Status

Rookie Status

Super-fun time: You may think you don’t need these toys, but every college student needs a spare frisbee/hacky-sack/deck of cards in his/her room. I’m not sure if I was supposed to take those poker chips or not, but I couldn’t resist the allure of late night strip Texas Hold’em.


In case you lose a pair of dice, now you have about 20 extra.

The [Free] Container Store: Containers are extremely useful things to get for free. Look at how perfectly you can store mysterious liquids in the metallic green one!

Ordered in increasing usefulness from left to right

Ordered in increasing usefulness from left to right

The Swag: 

For most people on campus, all of these free sunglasses came a few days too late (R.I.P. Tom Cruise-themed parties). But it’s never a bad time of year for free T-shirts. Or free retro calculator watches (okay, maybe that one isn’t that cool…). One of the shirts was made by Under Armour, so now I don’t have to waste money buying workout clothes I’ll never use!

Reppin' hard

Reppin’ hard or hardly reppin’?

Wearing a Dropbox Tee is always a win, because all Brown Students think Dropbox is awesome (yay file sharing!). Long after people have forgotten about the Career Fair, everyone will assume you have some mysterious internship at Dropbox. Sure, it’s a misunderstanding, but it’s one that commands immense respect.

Brand name

Brand name baby

Some of these tees are also made of comfy fabrics. A fan favorite is the American Apparel Tri-blend, but this year Dropbox took things to a new level by giving us super-soft Alternative Earth tees. Well done Dropbox, well done.

Inspector Gadget-s

So techie

So techie

The gadgets are some of the most valuable things you can get at the career fair, mainly because they would cost the most money if they weren’t “free”. The gadgets are also the hardest to get for humanities concentrators like myself, since most of them reside inside Sayles Hall.

A brief explanation: The Career Fair is divided up into two sections. The tent on Main Green consists mostly of education and finance jobs, while Sayles is almost exclusively technology based. It was clear I didn’t belong there, considering the closest I’ve come to coding is making out with a CS major.

This is a device than when plugged into your headphone jack will allow you to process credit card payments.

This is a device from “Squareup”. When it’s plugged into your headphone jack, it will allow you to process credit card payments.

Lady at the “Squareup” stand: Actually, I hear students are using it to purchase– 

Interruption by me: Kids are using it purchase drugs?  That’s awful!

Lady: Actually I was going to say textbooks…

Me: oh.

The Inner Child

No explanation necessary

No explanation necessary

IXL is an educational software company.  It uses stuffed animals to appeal to their client base of small children. Naturally, that stand attracted me like a magnet. THAT MONKEY IS SO CUTE (and probably better at using Python than I am)!

Hasbro was a particularly nostalgic surprise at the fair. I have no idea what they were doing there, but I would never question free Play-Doh and My Little Pony figurines.

The Miscellany

2013-09-18 16.16.20

Hand sanitizer is always a plus.

As a rule of thumb, there will always be weird shit at the Career Fair. For example: nerdy tattoos, cherry-scented lip balm from a finance company, and drill bits. Yeah, I think they’re drill bits. Hello Hanukkah 2013!

I’d have to award the the golf tees (pictured in green above) as the giveaway that is “most likely to appear on Rich Kids of Instagram.” I know we’re an Ivy League institution, but seriously – who needs that?!

The Winner

Yes. Just yes.

Yes. Just yes.

Hands down, winner of the 2013 Career Fair goes to Appnexus for giving out their own brand of HOT SAUCE! YOU GO APPNEXUS! Don’t feel weird about eating this, you’ve definitely consumed hot sauce from weirder origins (The Ratty…) than an online advertising company.


When I walked into the Career Fair, I went in with one purpose and one purpose only: to get free things.

Of course I was met by some resistance. There were people only looking for students who speak 3 or more languages of code, and one man from a tech company, upon hearing my intended concentration, just replied “Does this seem like a good fit to you?…

Just when it seemed that my academic skill set would never land me a real job, I would regain hope by running into a humanities supporter, or someone working behind a booth that was an English major in undergrad. Who knows? Maybe I won’t spend my young adult life living on my mom’s futon (although if I did, I would be very well read).

Moral of the story: Concentrate in what you’re passionate in, don’t listen to the haters, and if you want to make a good impression, give out free hot sauce.

Images via Caitlin Dorman ’16


  1. Furniture Concentrator

    I don’t find futons conducive to long periods of reading as their lack of deep comfort (read: very close slats) and cushiness tends to necessitate transfer to a different sitting medium.

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