Yes, first year students should go to the career fair. You are only a few years away from wanting a full-time, well-paying, post-graduation job, which means there are only a few more career fairs to attend. Put on some respectable clothes and go! Take a few cues from this article (imagine yourself as the ‘lower-profile business’).
Let the networking begin! Research the companies attending the career fair in advance, seek out connections at the ones you would be interested in working for. Ask about internships, part-time jobs and volunteering. Schedule a time to go to the company to conduct informational interviews. Being on-site is your best way to get a feel for the business since you will be able see the facility and observe the staff. Collect business cards and write ‘thank you’ emails within 1-3 days after the event. Make sure to confirm the upcoming informational interview date and time.