College isn’t easy. There’s a lot to feel overwhelmed about – student loans, study drugs, and the scariest thing of all… graduating. On this podcast, we talk to fellow college students about the things that are keeping us up at night. Join us every other Friday for a new episode of All Nighters.
It can sometimes feel like there isn’t enough time in the day to go to class, work on papers, study for exams, and still have a social life. Somehow, Dhruv Gaur, a junior at Brown University, managed to do all of this while preparing for and winning the popular game show “Jeopardy!” when he was just a freshman. He holds the title of the 2018 College Champion and was invited back to the Tournament of Champions this past November. This week, Dhruv sits down to tell us what being on “Jeopardy!” and going viral as a result has been like.
Dhruv grew up watching “Jeopardy!” He first took the test to go on the show his freshman year of college. He was fortunate enough to get a spot for the college edition, and was able to participate without missing much school.
“When I went on the first time, I didn’t tell a lot of people other than the professors for the four classes I was taking, and my close circle of friends. And even though it’s on TV and we watch it over the course of two weeks, we did all the filming in two days. I only ended up missing two or three days of school.”
He ended up winning the show and $100,000. A portion of the money went towards a celebratory dinner with twenty friends, while a large amount went towards his education.
“I paid for a semester at Brown, which was really cool, and super empowering for me to be like, this is the money that I made.”
He found his first “Jeopardy!” experience rewarding, and went on the show again this past November. This time around, he studied a lot more, memorizing hundreds of flashcards. But he also found fun ways to digest and memorize information.
“I had this giant online comic book version of the Bible that I read, because I was like, if I read Sparknotes or the actual bible, I’m not gonna remember anything.”
Unfortunately, he didn’t win “Jeopardy!” his second time, but he did make an impact of another kind. Dhruv garnered immediate viral fame after he bet all of his game show money and answered, “What is we love you, Alex!”, referring to Alex Trebek, the “Jeopardy!” host who has been battling stage 4 pancreatic cancer since March of 2019.
“I think at the point where I was in the game, it was pretty evident to me that I wasn’t gonna win… I was like, I could just write a nice message and it would be a lot more impactful. And it would at least make Alex’s day.”
Dhruv didn’t expect that his tribute would be as popular as it has been.
“My mom was like, ‘Oh by the way, you’re trending on Twitter,’ which is how I found out… And my entire feed was just this one moment on Jeopardy.”
Barely four hours had passed since the episode aired when a TV producer from “The Ellen Degeneres Show” messaged over Twitter, offering to fly him out to the show.
“The next morning I flew out of Providence at like 5 am, filmed my little interview with Ellen in the afternoon, and then flew back and was back in Providence the next morning.”
While Dhruv went viral on the internet for his Jeopardy appearance, he notes that not much has changed for him back at school. People occasionally stop him and exclaim that he’s “the kid who was on Jeopardy”, yet most of the time he goes unnoticed around campus.
He’s considering returning to Jeopardy for a third time somewhere down the line, but for now, he’s content to focus on college.