Michelle Obama’s Advice To College-Bound First Generation Students: ‘This Isn’t Supposed To Be Easy’
Jason Bahr

Former First Lady Michelle Obama sat down with rising college freshmen last week to discuss “beating the odds” as first-generation college students.

“This isn’t supposed to be easy,” she told 31 students from Washington D.C.’s Dunbar High School who were part of the day-long event focused on college prep. “So if it isn’t easy for you, that’s okay. You’re right on track.”

Obama’s event, in collaboration with Reach Higher at Civic Nation, was part of her continued efforts to speak directly with first-generation and at-risk students and equip them with the tools they need to succeed in university. While at the White House, she held annual “Beating the Odds” conversations that would focus on this very topic.

She was joined by sports journalist Michael Wilbon for her particular session. Spotify executives Troy Carter, VP of Creator Services, and Danielle Lee, VP of Partner Solutions, also shared their lessons learned from their personal and professional journeys in the tech industry. They even participated in a panel discussion on the important role music plays in culture and communities.  

Other advice from the former First Lady: manage your expectations, ask for help when you need it, don’t let work pile up and find some balance.

“Life is about balance. People who are successful find balance in their life,” she said. “They don’t drink too much. They don’t stay up too late.”

“That doesn’t mean you don’t have fun,” she added. “It means you find balance.”

Great advice no matter where you are in life!