In February 2014, I had the opportunity to tape for one of the longest running game shows in history, Wheel of Fortune. Wheel of Fortune has been on air for more than 30 years and has taped more than 6,000 episodes. I was a part of Wheel of Fortune: College Week, where for an entire week, the show features college students as contestants.
Many have asked me how I even got to the point of being a contestant on the show. In September 2013, I applied online on their college registration page with the mindset of "you never know what could happen." Just a few months later, the show's contestant coordinator emailed me inviting me to audition for the show in a closed audition. I was in shock just from this email and could not believe that I was being contacted.
About a month later, I auditioned for the show with several other college students in Terre Haute, Indiana. At the audition, they had us practice enunciating our voices and calling out logical letters to the audition coordinators. I walked out of the audition unsure if I was what they were looking for but knew I did my best.
Just two weeks later I received a letter informing me that I was selected to be in the contestant pool and not long after, received the email about my tape date for College Week.
I taped Wheel of Fortune in Culver City, California at Sony Pictures Studios. I was at the studio all day getting to know the other College Week contestants, going over rules and regulations with producers, as well as getting comfortable with the set. The other contestants and I became close and watched each other's episodes and rooted everyone on.
When it was my turn to tape my episode, I stepped up to the contestant platform and that was when it hit me. I would be taping for Wheel of Fortune with Pat Sajak and Vanna White, who would be coming out at any moment. I knew it would be over before I knew it began.
In all, it was one of the most incredible experiences I have ever had and would not trade it for anything. My air date is April 11th, check your local listings for air times. There will be a viewing party held on the IU Bloomington campus that evening at 6:45 pm at the Student Building - Room 150, just before the show starts at 7 pm.
Name: Julian Batts
Hometown: Carmel, IN
Degree and Major: Operations Management/Spanish
Graduation Year: May 2017