Thursday January 26, 2012Lauren Rose: Proving Childhood Wishes Can Come True
By Mara Rudolph, UF Communications
The kindness of a stranger got Lauren Rose off to a successful start on her University of Florida academic career. When the then-freshman boarded the bus for the first class of her first semester at UF, Lauren Rose had no idea where she was going. She wasn’t even sure she was on the right bus. Rose was rescued when a stranger offered to take the wide-eyed gymnast newcomer to the building that her class was in.
“I was very fortunate. I had no clue where I was going. I was really stressed the first day of class and I didn’t know where anything was,” Rose said.
Two weeks after reporting for practice, Rose found herself running out of the Gator head for her first collegiate competition. She was even a bit unsure on the to-dos of collegiate meets, admitting now that the only thing she was certain of then was to cheer loudly to support her teammates.
And so the semester began with a blur of activity. Transitioning to college life is hard for any freshman, but making it harder for Rose was the fact that she had just two weeks to make the adjustment to a new team, new gym, new practice regimen and starting collegiate classes.
Adjusting to college was a small sacrifice for Rose, who grew up a Gator fan and dreamed of competing for the school. Her mother, aunt and uncle all attended UF, and when her dad married into the family, he also became a Gator fan. Rose and her family often traveled to Gainesville to watch gymnastics meets, and following her acceptance to UF, the family added a Gator Christmas tree decked with orange and blue lights and ornaments to their holiday décor.
Rose started gymnastics at age 3, after her parents enrolled her in the sport as a structured outlet for all her energy.
“I was trying to do all sorts of flips at home. I was an active kid and they didn’t want me to hurt myself,” Rose said.
She started competing in gymnastics at age 7 and also balanced her gym schedule with ballet classes. Rose performed in the Central Florida Ballet’s Nutcracker for several years, taking on roles such as an Arabian dancer and a lily in the Waltz of the Flowers scene.
Rose’s love for ballet eventually gave way to aerial arts, which involves silk ribbons and can be seen in Cirque du Soleil. She became fascinated with aerial arts after watching the Cirque productions of Mystere and Ka in Las Vegas, and when she graduates would like to spend some time using her gym and aerial skills in a traveling Cirque show.
“I’d like to travel and go all around the world,” Rose said. “I’d especially like to go to Germany, where my grandfather is from.”
For now, Rose is focusing her skills toward the gymnastics season and helping Florida’s five new freshmen gymnasts adjust to their new college lives.
“I’m helping the new girls find buildings when they need to, and if they have any questions, I try to make sure they feel free to ask me,” she said. “I feel like we’re the closest team this year, and we all get along really well and help each other out. It makes practice a lot easier.”
She is proud to say she has come a long way from sitting on the bus a year ago wondering where she was going.
“I know what’s going on, and classes aren’t stressful because I know campus better,” Rose said. “Now I know our schedule and what is expected, and that has made it a lot easier. Being a part of this team and this University, I feel like now I’m doing what I am supposed to do.”