Skip navigation links

May 20, 2020

Lauren Heberling: It's in the small things

Lauren Heberling studied agribusiness management and food industry management and graduated from the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at MSU.

I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge that most of us in our graduating class are probably a little disappointed with how this piece of our journey has come to end. However, while this may not have been the ending that we had in mind, the swift way our lives have changed show us how resilient, thoughtful and innovative we all are.

A few weeks ago, I stumbled across a quote. “When people think about traveling to the past, they worry about accidentally changing the present by doing the smallest of things differently, but no one in the present really thinks they can radically change the future in small ways.” 

Lately, we have really been forced to think about our own futures and what that future looks like. Specifically, with life being so unpredictable, how can we continue to change the future for the better?

While interviewing for the CANR Outstanding Student Leadership Award, I had a chance at the end of the interview to ask the panel of judges a few questions of my own. In light of the current circumstances, one question, in particular, came to mind. With our world becoming increasingly digital, and especially now with almost everything being virtual, how do you continue to build relationships with others? 

There was one answer that really stuck with me. It was from Jeff Keson, CANR assistant director for Recruitment and Retention. When addressing questions and concerns of potential students, he uses a method that is much more personal.

“When I am in a situation where I need to direct somebody to another office,” Jeff said, “I try to always connect everything to a name. I won’t just say, here is an email or here is a phone number. I will say, hey, I have a friend over here, this is their name, here is how you can reach them, they will be able to help you find just what you need.”

I know, at the surface, this method might not seem groundbreaking; it is a few extra words. But the way he carefully selects these words and pays attention to the seemingly small details of a routine conversation can completely change the experience for an individual.

Over the last few months, we have seen big events, important meetings and awesome trips very easily disappear from our calendars. However, our relationships with others have a cool way of withstanding all of the world’s unforeseen disasters.

Give your energy to the details — your wording and your conversations — and you will be amazed at what you can do. In your career, think big picture, but be mindful of the importance of the seemingly small things — the relationships you make with coworkers, clients and your networks.

My message today is simple. It’s small things that make a big impact. It’s meant to remind you of the power each and every one of us holds.

Congratulations to the Class of 2020. May the rest of your life be filled with happiness, love and meaningful relationships with others.

Thank you and GO GREEN!

For the full story, visit


more content from this collection

Student views