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Dreams really do come true, or at least Harbert College of Business senior Lydia Patterson would say so. Earlier this year, Patterson competed against students from Brown University and UCLA on a college-week episode of the popular tv game show Wheel of Fortune.
Lydia Patterson on the set of Wheel of Fortune.
Patterson quickly solved the competition’s first puzzle: Straight A Student. And, despite almost winning big prizes like the million-dollar prize or a trip to Italy, Patterson was happy with how she did on the show.
“It was one of the best experiences and is something that I will forever cherish,” she said.
Although her episode was filmed in Los Angeles in late January, Patterson didn’t discuss her performance with anyone until the episode aired on April 3. Keeping the results from her grandmother was particularly hard, she said, as the two of them had bonded over the show for many years.
“I wanted it to be a surprise for everybody, so I wouldn’t talk about the show,” she said. “It was really hard to keep the secret at first.”
When the show finally aired, she and her close friends gathered in her college apartment to watch.
“When you are playing you are so nervous, it really is just like a blur,” she said. “So, it was like I was watching it for the first time, too.”
Becoming a contestant
Patterson submitted her application in early January, and it only took one week for her to secure an interview. Two days later, she completed her final interview, where she was placed alongside students from other colleges and participated in mock games.
The fast-paced nature of her experience did not stop there, though. On January 20th Patterson received the email stating that she had been accepted and needed to be at the studio in Los Angeles on January 27th. Despite the chaos over making accommodations, Patterson said that the experience was worth it.
Once in the studio she said everyone there was so nice and helpful. Seeing how everything worked behind the scenes was another highlight of Patterson’s experience. Learning how to spin the wheel properly, speak clearly despite her southern accent, and wearing the right colors for the cameras was something that helped Patterson to appreciate the show in a whole new way.
Patterson said that her time in Harbert has strengthened her leadership and communication skills, which helped her to feel more confident during the entire auditioning process, ultimately helping her to distinguish herself as an applicant.
“I love Auburn, and I knew I wanted to be on college week so, I mean, I couldn’t have asked for a better experience to get to represent the school that I love,” she said, noting that she and her twin brother were destined to attend Auburn because their parents are both proud alumni.
Her Harbert experience
Although she did not begin her college career in the Harbert College of Business, Patterson states that she found a great advisor in Harbert that made her transition extremely seamless. Patterson is planning to graduate in the spring of 2024 with a degree in Business Marketing. She has utilized various resources in the Office of Professional and Career Development as well as Harbert’s Department of Marketing Program Champion Danielle Coorigan to help her on her path to success.
Outside her courses, Patterson is involved with The Big Event, Greek life, and works as a writer for Be Well., a lifestyle Blogazine for Auburn University students organized by the Auburn University Campus Rec. She is also very involved with her church, The Church of the Highlands.
As Patterson plans to graduate next semester, she has been thinking a lot about her post-graduation plans.
“That is my dream job, if I could have any job in the world, it would be to be Vanna White,” she said jokingly.
Patterson actually plans to work in digital marketing—hopefully in the south or even in Auburn. Her Wheel of Fortune experience has taught her one very important life lesson that she will carry with her.
“So, I’d say, don’t wait around for the right time to do something,” she said. “Go for your goals, dream big.”
The Harbert College of Business which is celebrating the 10th anniversary of Raymond and Kathryn Harbert's transformational naming gift, is a nationally ranked hub of undergraduate, graduate and continuing business education that is inspiring the next generation of business leaders. Our world-class faculty deliver unparalleled academic rigor in the classroom, while our research-driven scholarship advances thought leadership and best practice across business disciplines. The largest college on Auburn's campus, Harbert enrolls more than 6,900 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students.