Not only did Gemma Busoni and Zaniya Lewis, two high school girls with ambitions to attend college win an essay contest with Seventeen magazine, but they also became the two luckiest teens in the world! They got a chance to visit the White House and be a part of Seventeen’s commencement issue with First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama. Also, they got the rare opportunity to personally soak up all the advice the First Lady shared about the importance of college education.Mrs. Obama has always been a champion for education. The proud Chicago native holds degrees from Princeton University and Harvard Law School. She launched the “Reach Higher” and “Better Make Room” campaigns to encourage high school kids to reach their highest goals and potential by attending and completing college.
During the interview, the First Lady shared how she never thought she would be a First Lady, her own personal college pursuits; how she handles “doubters” and the college advice she gives her daughters – Sasha and Malia Obama. Check out some excerpts from the interview.
On how not knowing what you want to be when you grow up is okay:
I always tell people, the question of what you want to be when you grow up is one that you will eternally be answering. I’m still asking myself that question! What am I going to do when I leave here? How do I want to impact the world? I’ve gotten used to the fact that I don’t have to know. I’m always going to be discovering new parts of myself, and you’ll find that you will be too.
On being the first African-American FLOTUS:
I never thought I’d be First Lady! When I was growing up, the notion that we would have an African-American president, the possibility that we would have a woman president, that wasn’t even on the horizon. I didn’t believe it until we walked into the White House!
On how she dealt with and handled naysayers during her college pursuits:
When it was time for me to apply to colleges there were some counselors who said, ‘Maybe, with Princeton, you’re reaching a little high, and I thought, ‘you really don’t think I can do it?’ But here’s what I did: I decided to ignore the doubters. I plunged ahead and I got in. I went on to Harvard Law School and every step of the way I used those doubting voices as motivation.”
On college advice she gives to her daughters:
The one thing I’ve been telling my daughters is that I don’t want them to choose a name. I don’t want them to think, ‘Oh I should go to these top schools. We live in a country where there are thousands of amazing universities. So, the question is: What’s going to work for you?
Read the interview here. The full interview is on stands now.