Over dinner at the Water Street Brewery downtown one night, Rae’s close friends—three giddy girls who are fellow RAs at Marquette—give him shit about the time he threw up in P.E. class after 15 minutes of exertion. Rae laughs it off. “I never exercise!” he says. Halfway through his rum and Coke, the girls coax him into doing his choreo-graphed routine to R. Kelly’s “Ignition” right there in the wooden booth. It’s an elaborate series of R&B hand gestures and some spirited lip-synching.

In the wake of all the recent craziness, Rae has developed a new motto. “I realized I need to take each day as its own,” he says. “Before that I was always so focused on what’s going to happen next, and always planning three or four months down the road. I still have things booked months out, but now I’ve learned to take each day a little bit slower and savor opportunity. Now I’m just focused on getting through the school year, getting through November, and then I’m leaving it open after that.” Though he’s probably unaware of it, Rae sounds more like a politician than ever: He’s making a promise he knows he can’t possibly keep.