Question: This Georgetown student recently participated in the Jeopardy! College Championship at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Answer: Who is James Grant (COL ’09)?

This May, Grant will take to the national airwaves as a Jeopardy! Contender. A fan of the game show from a young age, Grant eagerly accepted the challenge to prepare and compete against other talented college students. He studied, practiced and took numerous tests just for a chance to buzz in and show America that he is a champion.

What made you decide to go on “Jeopardy!”?

I’ve been watching [“Jeopardy!”] my entire life. I’ve been wanting to do this my entire life, and I tried and got really lucky I guess.

What did you do to prepare?

I assigned each of my friends a different subject so that when they saw me they would have a question for me.

What was the audition process like?

It started in August. I got an e-mail from the newsletter saying that there would be an online test in September and it would be at 6 [p.m. Pacific time]. I was in Florence at the time, so I had to be up at 3:00 in the morning and they invited me to the studio; so I went back in November, had a 50-question written test, and I had a mock game with two other people in [the] actual [“Jeopardy!”] studio. I think I did pretty well. I beat them and then I had an interview with them. They thought I was either smart or TV-friendly so . they chose me.

How many other applicants were there?

The first time I tested, they said four or five thousand, and I think they took 10 percent of those, 450 to 500 people probably got to the studio.

What was the test to get on the show like?

About the same level questions you see on the show – pretty hard.

What was it like to be on the show and on the air?

It was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done in my entire life. There were 5,000 people in the crowd, and just like . the thought crept into my head that there would be an estimated 12 million people watching it when it came out. I just didn’t want to look like an idiot, which I did two or three times, but overall I’m happy with the weekend.

Playing the game, I felt like Will Ferrell debating in “Old School.” By the time I got to final jeopardy, I felt like saying, “What happened? I blacked out …”

Were there questions that you couldn’t remember at the time that you did later?

Yeah, there were some questions that some of my teachers here are going to prosecute me for, like, I’m an American studies major and one of the categories was early American history, and yeah . I missed a few.

How far did you make it in the tournament?

I can’t answer that, sorry, yeah, no details.

How did being on “Jeopardy!” change your perspective of the show?

It is so much harder on air than it is at home. Also, the buzzer is the trickiest thing to understand. I will never yell at my TV again when I watch “Jeopardy!”; I feel for the contestants now.

And how was meeting Alex Trebek? What was he like?

He’s a prankster; he’s a jokester. Apparently he went to a Jesuit school when he was in high school so he asked me if the Jesuits beat me, and I said no. He was just talking trash the whole time, but in a fun way; he was a really fun guy. At one point, I was sitting between a Harvard and Yale student and he said, “Good thing the Catholics are here to mediate between enemies.”

Do you have any plans for what to do with your winnings?

Nothing too ornate. I want to save most of what I’ve made.

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