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A Few of Testudo’s Favorite Things

A Roundup of Memorable Finals-Week Offerings

By Sala Levin ’10


Illustration by Steffanie Espat

Illustration by Steffanie Espat

As long as there are final exams, there will be students pulling all-nighters, consuming too much coffee and generally panicking. But many Terps claim the secret to acing a test is making an offering to Maryland’s real power player: Testudo. For decades, superstitious students have given gifts to the statue in front of McKeldin Library in hopes of summoning the terrapin’s mercy when they face finals.

Not everyone is a fan of the tradition. Many alums from years before the offerings became routine consider them merely trash. The typical assortment of snacks and cups left there does bear more than a passing resemblance to garbage, so UMD’s Facilities Management team stops at the statue two to four times a day to collect items, says Bob Pils, assistant director of building services. They even try to return the more notable objects to their rightful owners—as in the case of a couch that found its way to Testudo’s feet.

We asked alums to tell us about their most memorable presents to Testudo. Here are a few of our favorite responses, from the weird to the wild to the wistful:


Using artificial intelligence to impress Testudo: 
“A sand-roving robot from an ENES100 final project. Hopefully he enjoyed his new toy.”—Mitchell Roberts ’19

Appealing to Testudo’s love for his fellow animals:
“My Betta fish.”

Because even terrapins sometimes crave junk food:
“A 20-ounce bottle of Diet Mountain Dew and a bag of barbecue Baked Lays potato chips—my fuel to get through finals period.”—Jeremy Rachlin ’02


Bringing the Down Under spirit to College Park:
“I played a didgeridoo for Testudo in spring 2000—no one thought it was weird.”—Eden Golshani ’03

Because Testudo could use all the international lucky pennies he can get:
“The only 1 Indian rupee coin that I had—I scored well in that exam.” —Shankar Reddy Ippala ’17


Channeling the calm of nature:
“A potted plant.”—Allen Kao ’16

Transporting Testudo somewhere warm and magical:
“A Hawaiian lei.”—Michael Waranch ’88

Because studies say classical music helps terrapins focus: 
“A pen drive containing all my study music.”

Old Bay

Harnessing the power of Maryland’s favorite seasoning:
“The crab mallet and Old Bay sent to me when I was admitted to the university! I felt that Testudo deserved it to help me ace an important final exam.”—Alison Pastor ’14

Looking out for Testudo’s health:
“A bottle of hand sanitizer. It was flu season, and tradition’s tradition, but we should all be careful too!”—Mo Jiang ’17

Hoping Testudo will just take your exam for you:
“One of my lucky shoes and a copy of a study guide for my least favorite exam.”—Awnya Frazier ’09

Maryland Today is produced by the Office of Marketing and Communications for the University of Maryland community on weekdays during the academic year, except for university holidays.