University of Colorado sophomore Erin Geis agrees that college is "the best time of your life."
That's also the first phrase she guessed correctly on the long-running television game show "Wheel of Fortune" earlier this month.
Geis, who participated during the show's College Week, wore a black sweatshirt with "Colorado" written in gold letters to show her school pride.
Geis, 19, said she got hooked on the show as a kid while watching with her grandparents. When she found out students could audition to be on the show during College Week, she said she jumped at the chance and made a video on Farrand Field late last spring.
She traveled to Los Angeles for a live audition, where show organizers asked her and other students to practice calling out the letters and play against one another in a simulated version of the game.
She found out a few weeks later she'd be appearing on the show.
"I was screaming and jumping around," said Geis, who's studying advertising and is originally from Mission Viejo, Calif.
"Wheel of Fortune" first aired in 1975, and hosts Pat Sajak and Vanna White are still going, almost four decades later. The game show recently celebrated its 6,000th episode in which contestants spin a giant wheel for chances to solve a word puzzle and win cash, prizes and trips.
To practice before the show's taping in February, Geis tried to solve word puzzles using an app on her phone and watched old College Week videos on YouTube.
"The puzzles when it's College Week are almost always related to college," she said.
Geis played against a student from the University of Illinois-Chicago and a student from Indiana State University. The three students were challenged by puzzles including "Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck," "Professor's Office Hours" and "Overachievers."
In the end, Geis took home roughly $6,000 in cash and a trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, which she said she plans to use with her family later this year.
She said she plans to save the cash to help fund her time at CU.
During the taping in front of roughly 150 people in February, Geis said she was overwhelmed and forgot some of the rules of the game.
"It went so fast," she said. "Literally, it was a blur and then it was so much fun. It was great."
Geis watched herself on TV with her sorority sisters in Chi Omega when the show aired April 7.
Many of them didn't grow up watching the show and kept confusing it with other popular game shows on TV.
"They had never heard of it," Geis said, laughing. "They thought it was 'Jeopardy.' They kept calling it 'Jeopardy' and 'The Price is Right.'"
Contact Camera Staff Writer Sarah Kuta at 303-473-1106 or firstname.lastname@example.org.