And I’m not talking about his amazing talent as quarterback for the Aggies. He’s fun to watch and can make a big play on any given down. He’s smart and has the respect of his team. But that’s not luck, and it’s not the discussion for the day.
No…I’m talking about the smart, gorgeous girl wearing his engagement ring. I think Ryan would be the first to agree that God had a hand in bringing Lauren Ufer into his world. And, apparently, she rocked it.
I had the opportunity to speak to Lauren recently about the things closest to her heart. Given this couple’s talents, I’m sure Lauren’s life with Ryan will have its fair share of public attention and I wanted her to have an opportunity to tell us who she is and what moves her before life gets more complicated.
Thanks for talking with us, Lauren. Most of my readers are high school and college young adults, and I remember sitting where they sit and wondering what kind of girl gets to date the quarterback. I think, though, that after they get to know you, they’ll wonder what kind of guy gets to date Lauren Ufer.
Give us some background, please:
Well, I was born in Atlanta, Georgia. We moved a lot—I lived in six towns before I graduated from high school. Houston, Corpus Christi, High Point (North Carolina), Fayetteville (Arkansas), and College Station (Texas).
I was in the middle of my junior year when we moved to College Station. So I graduated from A&M Consolidated High School the next year still feeling really new to town.
Tell me about your siblings:
I have two brothers. One is almost 21 and one is almost 16. I adore them. In fact, my brothers will stand by my side at our wedding instead of bridesmaids. Ryan’s brothers will stand by his side.
That’s really cool to let your brothers be a part of the ceremony like that—much better than the usual usher role.
I know you’ve already graduated from Texas A&M. What was your major?
I majored in Communications with a minor in Psychology. I chose this major because I love people and I’m drawn to finding ways to connect and help.
But now, you’ve switched gears a little. You’re working for a Cardiologist and your career goal is no longer in communications, right?
That’s right. I figured out my junior year at A&M that I want to pursue a career in medicine. I think it fits well with my love for connecting with people. My goal now is to become a nurse, for two reasons: I want to be a caretaker, and I’m fascinated with the science involved in medicine and healing. Our bodies are miraculous and there’s so much to learn and new cures and innovations happening so rapidly now in the field. I’m excited to know exactly what I want to do now.
I can tell from talking to you that nursing is a perfect fit.
I want to know about Lauren in high school. Who were your people? What groups did you hang with? Who fascinated you?
Yeah, so, Lauren in high school…. I was a cheerleader and I played on the tennis team. I stayed involved with a lot of different types of “groups.” I usually ran around with cheerleading friends because we had classes together and spent so much time with each other. But I wasn’t shy in my classes—I tried to get to know everyone. I tend to want to know the stories behind the people I meet and what makes them who they are. I’m naturally curious about people. I was the same way in college classes. I got to know all kinds of people by being open with them and starting conversations easily.
Did you find it easy or difficult to really live your faith in high school? How did you handle the hard times?
Great question. I was involved in Young Life and church groups but I have to say, I don’t feel like high school was a place where I truly “walked the walk.” I was a good kid, don’t get me wrong. But I don’t think I ever stepped very far outside my comfort zone. Looking back at all of that, I think it’s difficult in high school to really step out because you’re still trying to figure out who you are and what kind of person you want to be. You’re going through so many changes in high school that you just have to hang on. I know, for me, moving so late in high school was really difficult. It shook me up a lot because I wasn’t comfortable. I had to pray every day for strength and really lean on the Lord. I just want girls to see that hanging onto faith and values is completely worth it. And they should pray all the time.
Did you find that living your faith became easier when you started college?
I would say my first year at A&M I wasn’t connected enough.
That’s pretty typical, Lauren. It’s hard to suddenly strike out on your own and make the connections. It can be pretty nerve-wracking.
It was…I did continue going to church and I kept up my quiet times with the Lord through this transition time and that made a huge difference. Once I felt settled in college, I got involved in a Bible study and during my junior and senior years, I led one. Also, friends are so important. Friends who have the same values as you. I can’t overstate that. I met a girl in a class who is now one of my dearest friends and it was a total God thing. We immediately clicked and we put together a wonderful group of girlfriends who supported each other. We even did Beth Moore Bible studies together. BETH MOORE ROCKS! I feel like this group and these studies were what made the difference for me. Just having other girls your age to relate to and pray with and for makes you accountable and comfortable with faith. I also went to Breakaway, which is just incredible. I attended Breakaway and church classes all through college.
It sounds like you kept your guard up, surrounded yourself with faithful friends, and made good decisions. All things I’m praying my kids will do when they leave home. Can you name a couple of pitfalls, though, that make maintaining a relationship with God difficult for a lot of college students?
Oh, yeah…dating relationships and drinking. Two big ones. To the girls reading this, I want to say that if you keep God at the center of your relationships with boyfriends and you put Him first in all things you will handle the big issues beautifully. But, let me tell you, it is a mindset that you have to adopt and stick with. I also believe that if you associate with good people, you’ll have more strength. In college it is so easy to fall into the wrong crowd. There’s always something fun going on where kids get into trouble. My advice is to get involved in Christian organizations so that you’re part of something good with kids who believe like you.
Thanks for that, Lauren. I think you’re right about the way temptation really ramps up in those college years. You’re away from parents and it’s so easy to experiment with things that can make you stumble. I know your parents are proud of your maturity.
Okay, here’s a big one that I get a lot of questions about from readers. What do you think about dating someone seriously in high school? Is that too young? Or is it a great way to learn about relationships?
I had a serious boyfriend in high school but looking back, I think we were too young. I was still figuring out who I was in college so there’s no way I knew what I wanted in high school! I did learn a lot from that relationship, but I think making memories with girlfriends and groups is more fun and much less complicated.
You talk a lot about “figuring yourself out.” What exactly do you mean by this?
I mean girls need to be smart and figure out for themselves what to prioritize and what to set as goals. What personality should you look for in a guy one day? What are your insecurities that might make you look for the wrong thing? What are your strengths? What type of relationship do you want in your life? Before you start experimenting with dating different guys, develop a road map for yourself. You won’t regret it.
Lauren, if you could go back in time and give your high school self one piece of advice, what would it be?
I would tell myself to take a stronger stand for the Lord and to not be scared! I wish I had been more confident and not so worried about being cool or looking pretty. High school is such a time of vulnerability for girls and guys. I wish I had been stronger in my walk with the Lord so I would have had more confidence.
Could you go back and tell my high school self that, too? I think you’re exactly right. I wish I hadn’t lived in fear about so many things that just don’t matter in the grand scheme of things. But that’s part of growing up and maturing.
Thanks, Lauren! We’ll talk more tomorrow! Read the second half of Lauren’s interview now.
Tomorrow, we’ll shift gears and get to the love story we all want to know about. Lauren will return to tell us about falling in love with Ryan Tannehill and what the future holds for this amazing couple.Read More