A sophomore from the University of Texas, Dallas...

Prashant Raghavendran

Where do you see yourself in ten years?
In ten years, I see myself probably in med school, but hopefully I'll be at, a-a big hospital in, uh, California or somewhere that I really want to work, in neuroscience or cardiology.

Do you think your major will give you an advantage in the College Championship?
Well, with some of the medical things, yeah, but in general, I'm just interested in general knowledge, so hopefully that knowledge will help me through it.

Who was the first person you told after you were chosen?
My roommate was there when I was first told about Jeopardy!--when I was in the room, calling, uh, Maggie about it, but, I mean, the people, back, but then after that I told my parents and everyone else, so...

What would be your dream category?
My dream category would probably have to be about How I Met Your Mother 'cause I'm obsessed with that show.

Show your school spirit and tune in!

2010-A College Championship quarterfinalist: $5,000.

Hometown: Austin, Texas.

Prashant Raghavendran Blog Entry 1
February 2, 2010

My name is Prashant Raghavendran. I’m a Sophomore at the University of Texas at Dallas studying neuroscience. Currently, I am an officer in our school’s student government and an avid contributor to the opinion newspaper, A Modest Proposal, as well as an enthusiastic participant in Model United Nations. I am also kept pretty busy with my work in a nanotechnology lab. Despite how busy I have been, I have not lost sight of a dream I’ve had since I was nine: being on Jeopardy!

The television was almost always on in our house when I was young and as I grew. After having been so intrigued by the internet and its ability to teach me so many new and useful (as well as not useful) things, I found the concept of the show to be perfect. Throughout my schooling, I was very interested in competing in the Geography Bee, Science Olympiad and Quiz Bowl. I always wanted to test how much I knew so I could inherently learn more. Finally, by September of this year, I thought I was ready to try out for the show I had been pining over for a decade.

I had been looking over games at j-archive.com for about a week before the online test, and then the night finally came. I was excited and raring to go, but I came across a dilemma. To benefit my path towards acquiring my major, I had decided to take a statistics class at 7 PM on Tuesdays and Thursdays. And, just my luck, the online test was at 7:30 during my first statistics class of the semester. Realizing I had to go to my first class in the subject, I decided to take my laptop and, as discretely as possible, take the test during class. I listened intently and interacted with the professor for the first 28 minutes, but then I was in the zone for the test. For ten minutes I just kept my head down and typed. Apparently, this paid off, because I got called back to audition in Chicago.

My friends heard about this and were all incredibly supportive. A few of us would spend long nights finishing games of Trivial Pursuit (of which I have 2 versions), where all of them would play against me, the ultimate test. Sometimes, friends would read me questions from the J! Archives. Inherently, though, I realized that I could not really study to succeed at the game. I realized, through some advice, that it was my personality and what I already knew that would get me to the final stage. Luckily, I had had such a thirst for knowledge in my elementary, middle and high school years that it was going to benefit my cause.

I arrived in Chicago a day before the audition, which was at 9 in the morning. I lugged my bags 2 miles from the Chicago L Train stop to the Westin on Michigan and threw myself on my cushiony bed for a couple of minutes. “I’m finally here”. I spent a couple of hours walking around the area; I had to take in my favorite city besides my home of Austin: that was the reason I wanted to be in Chicago, despite the weather. I slept early, setting alarms on both the alarm clock in the room and my cell phone so as to not miss the audition. After triple checking the time I set, I finally went to sleep.

The next morning, I found something I did not expect at all. The way it was playing out in my head, this was going to be a personal one-to-one experience. However, I saw, at first, four others there, and I realized this was an entirely different ball game. For a few minutes all of us just sat and stood there, silent, intently filling out our forms. Finally, someone struck up a conversation and we all got to talking; I soon realized I didn’t have to be nervous anymore.

Once we went in, everyone was lively and nice, so I knew this wasn’t going to be an intense experience. Furthermore, I learned one valuable thing that I did not really know. I had always figured that one could buzz in to answer at any time after the question had finished. The whole “buzz in after the light has illuminated” idea had changed my impression completely and has helped me prepare my quiz bowl buzzing ability for this game show.

The test seemed easy after the online test because of the similar format and time constraint. I had done it before, so it was now part of my element. Though throughout that day I looked back and found I gotten several wrong, I thought of it as just another learning experience. In the end, I left the city satisfied with my stay, getting to realize one of my dreams in one of my favorite cities.

Over the next month and a half, everyone I knew was very interested about my progress. All I could say was that I was still waiting. On December 3rd, I was checking the website (Jeopardy.com) to see if slots for the College Championship had been filled. I did not find an answer. Little did I know that later on that day I would get a reply to my search.

I had received a call from a California area code early in the afternoon, but my phone was on silent because I was in a final exam. I got out of my exam, and I had got a text from my mother that read “Call ASAP it is about Jeopardy!” I realized what was happening, so I was very excited on the walk home. However, this meant that when I got the actual call much of the excitement had been experienced. Despite this, when I finally answered my phone to this California number, my roommate and I were in our apartment playing video games. We paused the game as I paced around our apartment, into my room, into the bathroom, into his room, as I got the rundown. Only halfway through the call was I actually told, verbatim, that I was going to be on the College Championship. However, it was pretty clear throughout the phone call. After I put down the phone, me and my friend rushed to my scholarship program’s office to tell them the good news. The response was outrageously positive. This was the support I needed to keep me motivated.

As this event transpired I quickly realized two things that boosted my self-esteem. I guessed that based on my audition, that there were about 300 people who got called back to be on the show, and that I had become just 15 of this group. I could not believe for the longest time that I was actually on the show; I legitimately had a “pinch me I must be dreaming” moment the next day. However, one important thing that I came to notice was that I had prevailed in this process all alone. I took the online test alone, I went to Chicago alone, and I had made it to Los Angeles through solely my own merit. I relied on the support of my loved ones, but I had done all the work. This was a statement of independence for me, and gave me confidence that my capabilities were not as limited as I thought.

Since that day, I have thought about what I should do to prepare. Even still, I maintain that I cannot really study for this occasion. Even still, just yesterday I bought a thick Trivial Pursuit question and answer book and Instant Genius, a book filled with chapters of essential (as well as non-essential knowledge). In the end, this whole process has just given me immensely greater amounts of information. Speaking of which, I’m off to read my books now!

Prashant appeared in the following archived game:
#5850, aired 2010-02-05 Lindsay Eanet vs. Leah Anthony Libresco vs. Prashant Raghavendran 2010-A College Championship quarterfinal game 5.

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