Getting into college is just the beginning, former First Lady Michelle Obama told a group of Philadelphia students Wednesday.
The next step? Having the courage to make connections and ask for help.
“Some of you may be the first or only people from your family or your community to even take this step — and that might feel a little scary,” Obama told the teens, who were gathered to celebrate College Signing Day. “…But when you hit those roadblocks, when you have trouble in that class, when you feel like you’re falling behind — you have to ask for help.”
No one, she said, gets through college on their own.
“You have to get on campus right away and find your community, find your posse,” Obama added. “Never be isolated, don’t sit in your dorm, don’t sit at home alone — you have to find a study group, you’ve got to join some clubs, you’ve got to find some teachers who will support you.”
More than 2,000 similar events — which honor college-bound students — were planned nationwide. The annual celebration, coordinated by Better Make Room, is aimed at increasing college access for low-income, minority, and first-generation students.
Roughly 8,000 high school seniors attended the star-studded event. Actors, singers, athletes, and other celebrities, including Nick Cannon, Janelle Monae, Bradley Cooper, Zendaya, and Jameer Nelson joined the former first lady on stage.
During her time at the mic, Obama shared her own path to college as a first-gen student.
She completed her undergraduate studies at Princeton University. Obama later earned a law degree at Harvard University and credits her success today to higher education.
“There are always haters out there, telling you what you can’t do,” Obama told the college-bound teens. “I am so proud of you all. You guys did just what I did. You guys ignored the haters.”
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