Gobbles of thanks

“Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.”  –W.T. Purkiser

I thought today would be the perfect opportunity to take a moment to remind myself how wonderful life is. Days, months, and years pass by in the blink of an eye. It’s sometimes hard to remember to count your blessings. On this beautiful Thanksgiving Day, I thought I’d list a few of the things I’m thankful for — every single day of the year.

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  • Family: While the photo above is only of my mom’s side of the family, I’m thankful for my entire kin. Through the years, I’ve realized that there’s one constant in this world and that’s family. They’re supportive, full of love, and always there to pick me up when I’m down. I’m so thankful for how close we all are, despite the distance!

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  • Boyfriend: Not only is he my boyfriend, but he’s my best friend. We’ve been through thick and thin together, since we were both 15 years old. Ryan has the sweetest heart and takes such good care of me. I’m such a lucky girl to have met my soulmate at such a young age. There’s no doubt I’m thankful for this wonderful, handsome man!

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  • Friends: The seven ladies with me in the picture above are some of my dearest friends. We bonded during our study abroad trip with the J-School. I’m not sure I could survive without the laugh-until-you-cry feeling, late night girl talks, and dinner dates with these girls. These are only a few of the friendships in my life I’m thankful for.

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  • Professors/Mentors: During my almost-four years at the University of Florida, I’ve gained some very insightful mentors who I deeply admire. They’ve helped me gain opportunities within the college and beyond. I’m very thankful for all of their guidance and support throughout the years. I know I’ll continue to keep in touch with them after graduation.

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  • UF’s College of Journalism and Communications: All of the people, places, and things I’m thankful for lead up to this wonderful place right here. The CJC is my second home and I’ve bragged about it plenty in previous blogs. I’ve grown not only as a journalist and a student, but as a human being. I will graduate the college in May as a proud Gator and a multimedia journalist prepared to take on the world of broadcasting. What I’ve learned in Gainesville I will carry with me forever. I cannot wait to show the world what I’ve got thanks to the CJC!

Of course, I’m also thankful for health, happiness, and the love I’m surrounded by every day. I’m thankful to spend this marvelous Thanksgiving day with the people I love. I’m extra thankful this year because who knows where I will be next year. We all know a journalist’s job doesn’t halt for the holidays! That’s why it’s important for me to spend quality time with loved ones this year.

In general, I’m constantly thankful for life and all of its blessings! Every day is special and today I hope we all take a moment to soak it all in. May the beginning of your holiday season be bright and cheery. Happy Thanksgiving, folks!

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2012 Summer: Study Abroad 

UF CJC: Department of Telecommunications

Opportunities in the CJC: WUFT.org

Networking & Technology: Center for Media and Innovation

Multimedia Journalist: LaurenRautenkranz.com

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And THIS is UF Homecoming

A little over a week ago, I was living a dream of mine. I was co-hosting the UF Homecoming Parade for WUFT’s live coverage. From noon to two o’clock in the afternoon, Kyle Benzion and I were “the faces of the university,” according to professors in our college. No pressure, right? Well, I had the time of my life. Live television is so much fun, so candid, and so ME! It felt like it was meant to be.

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Before I jump right into the ‘juicy’ details of this year’s parade, the picture above is me at my first-ever UF Homecoming Parade four years ago. I was so excited to see the entire Gator Nation come together for Homecoming Week. The traditions, the history, and the pride of being a Gator really shone through that weekend. It was the first time I realized the depth and diversity of what it means to be a student at the University of Florida.

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I’ve never missed a single Homecoming Parade, Gator Growl, or homecoming football game since I’ve been a student. I believe I will continue to come back “home” after I graduate, too. It’s already something to say, “I attend the University of Florida,” but it’s something more extraordinary to say,

“The University of Florida is my home, and I’m a proud to be forever a Gator.” 

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All sentiments aside, co-hosting the 90th Annual UF Homecoming Parade was absolutely one of the greatest experiences I’ve had during my time as a College of Journalism and Communications student. I was able to put all of my skills to work, including ad-libbing I’ve learned from forecasting, fact-finding I’ve learned from reporting, and the passion for storytelling I’ve always had. I will always remember Friday, November 8, 2013 and be forever grateful for yet another marvelous opportunity at UF.

“The University of Florida is in Gainesville, and THIS is UF Homecoming.”

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“The Tipping Point”

The Tipping Point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire.”

The quote above is the first sentence I read on the back cover of the book, The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. There’s something so interesting, yet simple about this statement. Gladwell does a great job of pulling you in to this idea of the “Tipping Point” and puts into perspective how it can affect in all of our lives. He talks about a world of epidemics and the principles of those outbreaks.

First, epidemics are contagious — but not all of them are harmful, like what might first pop into your mind when contagious is uttered. Yes, a virus or the common cold can be contagious, but so can fashions or news. I love the example Gladwell gives about yawning. There is an entire paragraph simply explaining how it can be contagious and I even found myself yawning while reading it! Hence, yawning and even the thought of yawning is contagious. Therefore, yawning can be an epidemic.

The second principle of epidemics is understanding that little changes can have big effects. Gladwell explains,

“When an epidemic spreads through a population, it doubles and doubles again, until it has (figuratively) grown all the way to the sun in fifty steps.”

People need to understand, and prepare themselves for, the possibility that big changes can follow from small events. Sometimes these changes can happen very quickly.

There are three rules of the “Tipping Point,” which can help make sense of epidemics.

  1. The Law of the Few: The success of any kind of social epidemic is heavily dependent on the involvement of people with particular and rare sets of social gifts. One critical factor in epidemics is the nature of the messenger
  2. The Stickiness Factor: Is the message or product memorable or irresistible? Does it spur someone to action? You want your point to get across and make sure what you say is remembered, so it’s good to speak with emphasis.
  3. The Power of Context: Epidemics are sensitive to the conditions and circumstances of the times and places in which they occur. People are extremely sensitive to changes. The context of the change can make a big difference to the “Tipping Point.”

All in all, Gladwell’s book, The Tipping Point really helps open your eyes to the way epidemics and trends work. It definitely has made me change the way I think about the world. Everyone has their own idiosyncrasies, which is why we all react in different ways in certain circumstances. This book really reinstated my belief that anything is possible. There may be obstacles, but with positivity and determination dreams can be accomplished. Gladwell says it very well in his conclusion of The Tipping Point,

“Look at the world around you. It may seem like an immovable, implacable place. It is not. With the slightest push — in just the right place — it can be tipped.”

I love this quote, and I found the entire book actually quite interesting. I’ve never truly taken the time to think about epidemics and the “Tipping Point.” This book has a fresh perspective on how someone, however “small” they may feel, can make a huge impact on the world, despite how “large” it may seem.

Oh, the Places We’ll Go

When I graduated from high school, my parents handed me a book that I was very familiar with. My mom wanted me to read it through as a reminder to never give up on myself, and to always follow my dreams. The book was “Oh the Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Seuss. One of my all-time favorite quotes is from this classic story. It reads as follows,

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…” 
― Dr. Seuss

It’s interesting to think about life right now and try to imagine what it will be like in five, ten, or even twenty years down the road. This book reminds me that YOU really control your own destiny. You can either run with the opportunities presented to you, or let them go. As I look around my college, I always try to think about where my classmates will be in the future. I believe we are all so capable of becoming very successful thanks to the amazing resources provided to us at UF. Also, most of my classmates are good friends of mine and I have full confidence that all of our dreams will (one day) come true! Cheers to a few of my classmates listed below. I’ve attached a link to their bios, so you can see how great they are, too!

We ALL have Dreams

Something very exciting about attending such a large university is being able to meet all different walks of life. With an enrollment of nearly 50,000 students annually and home to 16 colleges, the University of Florida is a breeding ground for success. Everyone has dreams, aspirations, and goals. One common goal in the College of Journalism and Communications, especially as a telecommunications-news major is to develop a career in broadcasting. It’s always fun to follow other classmates’ work and see how their making their mark in the industry. Here are three exceptional examples:

  • Brittany Bassler and I are similar because we both love storytelling and news. Brittany currently anchors weekly on WUFT News First at Five. She graduates with honors in December at UF and is excited for the future. Good luck to her!
  • Jillian de Montluzin is a senior UF Telecom-News major as well. She grew up watching Katie Couric and Matt Lauer on the Today Show who became great role models for her (sounds quite similar to my bio, too!:)) After graduation, Jillian plans to pursue a Masters Degree in Management.
  • Nick Swain is a cool kid! I met him in my early years here at UF and I am positive Nick is going places! He has hopes to become a TV anchor and his blog is about is passion for food. He also is doing very well in the music industry with his brand YaBoyNickSwain.

Go Journo-Gators!

Who is this girl Lauren anyways?

Not that I remember it as well as my parents do, but I first saw the world on September 18, 1991. To say the least, I was born into a wonderful, loving, and supporting family. My parents, Phil and Kathy, had no idea what they were getting into. With bright blue eyes, hiccups, and a distinct left cheek dimple I was ready to take on life as Lauren Ashley Rautenkranz.

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In 1995, my forever best friend was born: Robert Max Rautenkranz, or Max for short. He came into our lives on one SuperBowl Sunday, which makes it kind of ironic that Max grew up as a Miami Dolphins fan. The rest is history. The Rautenkranz family was complete.

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Growing up in South Florida, I spent many of my days in the sun, on the beach, or climbing my childhood home’s orange tree. Fast forward to my elementary aged years, and I quickly became obsessed with my family’s video camera. You know, those heavy electronic devices the size of a watermelon? Nowadays, they’re known as antiques. Anyways, I loved dancing to Spice Girls in front of the camera, acting out my own mini movies, and even creating my own mock newscasts. Before anyone knew it, I was up every single morning watching the Today Show. I would dream about a career in broadcasting and idolized Katie Couric more than anything. Sounds like a typical 8 year old, right? Right. Read on.

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Fast forward even further down the road, and there I was on the live set of the Today Show shamelessly holding a sign saying I would be their next anchor. Ok, I know what you’re thinking now: This girl is nuts. Well, yes. You are correct. I’m a goofball who likes to have fun. I’m never afraid to be myself. Simply put, I had a dream and I was sticking to it.

Like I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, I love this industry. I’m driven, motivated, and passionate about giving a voice to the voiceless, and listening to those who have a story because everyone has a story! I now attend the University of Floirda and am a senior Telecommunications-News major. I plan to graduate in May of 2014 with a TEL degree, as well as a communications studies minor and a meteorology certificate.

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All of this may sound great, but there’s a lot more to me than just a girl with a dream to work in the broadcasting field. Like I said above, I have a fabulous family. I also have the greatest boyfriend, who just so happens to be my high school sweetheart. I have the most caring grandparents, the best of friends, and wonderful mentors. I grew up with two cats, Harley and Sneakers, and a Doberman Pinscher named Fritz. I was constantly watching Barney & Friends as a toddler. I’m left-handed and always have ink on my hands because of it. I’m obsessed with the ocean and the feeling of sand between my toes, could eat an entire gallon of cookie dough ice cream by myself, and can’t sing but I pretend I can. I admit that I’m one who may get easily distracted by shiny objects, but I always get the job done. If I could wake up to watch every sunrise and stay up to watch every sunset, I would. My favorite color is purple. I have a habit of naming everything I own. For example, my car is Nelly, my fish is Ollie, and my iPod is Delilah. I enjoy exploring new places, meeting new people, and learning new things. Life is an adventure and I try to look at every day with the glass half full.

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Now, isn’t that so much more fun? I hope you feel as if you know me a bit better. I’m proud of where I come from and where I am in my life today. All of my wild dreams, quirky characteristics, and life experiences make me, ME! Remember, EVERYONE HAS A STORY! What’s yours?

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Google Lauren? YouTube Page or Lauren Rautenkranz

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Download Resume: Lauren Rautenkranz