Emma Florio of Hoffman Estates will fulfill a yearslong quest Monday afternoon when she appears on the 3:30 p.m. broadcast of her favorite game show, "Jeopardy!," on Chicago's ABC 7.
The 25-year-old library assistant started taking the online tests and going to the auditions for the college version of the program five years ago.
But it was an audition for the original show last June that eventually led to her appearance on the April 24 broadcast.
Though potential contestants must commit to their availability for 18 months after the audition, Florio admitted she was taken by surprise by the phone call earlier this year asking her to be in Los Angeles in just a couple weeks.
So how did the experience of being on "Jeopardy!" compare to the years of watching it from her couch?
"It was definitely surreal to see Alex Trebek standing a foot in front of you," Florio said. "It all goes by very quickly. They film it in pretty much real time."
One rumor she was happy to find wasn't true was the idea that answering game show questions in person is much more rattling than doing so in the comforts of one's own home.
"They do a very good job of calming you down and putting you at ease before you're anywhere near the set," Florio said.
The Fremd High School and Illinois Wesleyan University grad said her love of reading and learning new things are probably what led to both her love for "Jeopardy!" and her choice of profession. Since last October she has been special collections library assistant at the Newberry Library in Chicago.
The final task of Florio's "Jeopardy!" experience has been the obligation of keeping secret the outcome until the broadcast. But she said this has been made easier by the understanding of her family, friends and colleagues.