*Michelle Obama is known to many as the first lady of the United States, but for young students set to attend college, she doubles as someone who succeeded from ignoring her “doubters and “haters.”
Featured on the cover of the May 2016 issue of Seventeen magazine with high school students Gemma Busoni and Zaniya Lewis, FLOTUS referenced how her high school teachers tried to tell her that she was setting her sights too high upon discovering her desire to apply to Princeton.
“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,'” the first lady recalled to Seventeen. “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.”
Continuing to examine her life, Obama provided more inspiration while telling young college hopefuls it’s OK to not know what you want to be after you graduate, a fact that she still struggles with to this day.
“I always tell people, the question of what you want to be when you grow up is one that you will eternally be answering,” she told Seventeen. “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.”
While some may be intent on attending a well-known school, Obama encouraged students to go beyond the school’s name to find one that perfectly falls in line with what works best fort them.
“The one thing I’ve been telling my daughters is that I don’t want them to choose a name,” she says while mentioning her daughters Sasha and Malia, who is gearing up to start college this fall. “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?”
In addition to Obama, readers will find Busoni and Lewis on the cover of the latest issue of Seventeen. The students secured their spot with the first lady after winning an essay contest about how they’re overcoming obstacles to guarantee a spot at their dream school. The contest was done in promotion of Obama’s Better Make Room campaign, which motivates young people to take control of their education and dreams.
The May 2016 issue of Seventeen featuring the first lady, Busoni and Lewis is currently on newsstands. Click here to read Obama’s entire interview with Seventeen.