Most Americans can only dream of making it on a TV game show, but for Marist junior Caroline Fiske, that dream became a reality.
Earlier this year, Fiske was selected as one of 18 college students to fly to Los Angeles and be a contestant on her favorite game show, the “Wheel of Fortune.” The other 17 students represented various schools around the country, including Emerson College, Providence College, the University of Delaware, Drexel University, and the University of Alabama.
Fiske has been a fan of Wheel of Fortune her entire life, so getting this opportunity was an especially big deal for her.
“I have been watching Wheel of Fortune since I was a little girl. Being on the show has been a life long dream of mine. In fact, when I was a little girl and I used to wait for food at restaurants, I would play hangman on the menus and I would get my whole family involved,” said Fiske.
However, even a superfan like Fiske was caught off guard by parts of the experience.
“Despite how much and how often I would watch the show, it did not prepare me for the real experience. There is just so much going on all at once and you must remain calm, cool, and collected. There are all of these lights, sound cues, cameras, people watching you and your every move, and Pat Sajak [the host] standing less than a foot away from you.”
Speaking of Sajak, Fiske actually had a personal moment with the famous host that she will remember forever.
“The part that I will cherish for the rest of my life is when I made a mistake on one of the puzzles that I was about to solve and Pat Sajak pulled me to the side during one of the commercial breaks and he gave me some advice. He said to me, ‘don’t let that one little mistake get in your way, it happens to the best of us, just keep playing the game and focus on that.’”
Fiske bounced back from her mistake, solving puzzles such as “Vegetable Spring Rolls,” “Ducks and Geese,” and “Overlooking the Ocean.” She won $4,000 in cash as a result.
The episode aired on April 12th, and Fiske ended up walking away with a total of $10,400 in cash and prizes in addition to a trip to the Bahamas. Even though Fiske didn’t advance to the bonus round of win the million dollar prize, she had no regrets.
“I would not change anything about this experience. Even though I did not win, this whole experience has given me the confidence and persistence that I never knew I had. Because despite how much competition I had and how much pressure I was under during the whole filming process, I did not give up on myself and at the end of the day I did not let my nerves get the best of me.”
Surely Fiske was “fortunate” for her experience, as she deemed it “the best day of my life.”