Michelle Obama Shares Throwback Photo From College With Advice to First Generation Students

Michelle Obama at ESPYS 2017
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Michelle Obama has some wise words for the class of 2018. 

The former First Lady took to Instagram on Tuesday to share a picture from her own college days and impart some advice for students who, like her, have navigated higher education as the first in their families to do so. 

In the photo, Obama stands on the Princeton campus, casually stylish in a denim jacket and red V-neck sweater. Her caption touches on the difficulty of standing out because of the color of your skin. 

"This is me at Princeton in the early 1980s," she wrote. "I know that being a first-generation college student can be scary, because it was scary for me. I was black and from a working-class neighborhood in Chicago, while Princeton’s student body was generally white and well-to-do. I’d never stood out in a crowd or a classroom because of the color of my skin before. But I found close friends and a mentor who gave me the confidence to be myself."

She continued: "Going to college is hard work, but every day I meet people whose lives have been profoundly changed by education, just as mine was. My advice to students is to be brave and stay with it. Congratulations to the Class of 2018! #ReachHigher." 

Earlier in the day, Obama shared another throwback pic, this time of herself as a child with her parents, and announced she would be letting fans see more such photos from her forthcoming book, Becoming

She has called writing the memoir a "deeply personal experience," and revealed that it will detail her life's journey.

"It has allowed me, for the very first time, the space to honestly reflect on the unexpected trajectory of my life," she said in an Instagram post announcing its publishing date. "In this book, I talk about my roots and how a little girl from the South Side of Chicago found her voice and developed the strength to use it to empower others."


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