What Michelle Obama would tell her college-aged self

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What Michelle Obama would tell her college-aged self

Like many college students, former first lady Michelle Obama struggled with self-doubt and insecurities. As part of CBS News‘ “Note to Self” series, Obama shared a letter filled with advice for her younger self as she entered Princeton University.

“You’re at one of the finest universities in the world,” she remembers. “You’re smiling, and you should be, you worked hard for this. But even now, after you reached your goal, you’re still not quite sure if you belong and can’t get one question out of your mind: ‘Am I good enough?'”

These doubts grew, she writes, when she encountered few students who looked like her on campus. “Some arrived on campus in limousines. One of your classmates is a bona fide movie star, another is rumored to be a real-life princess. Meanwhile, you got dropped off by your father in the family sedan.”

Related: 5 inspiring messages every student needs to hear today

But she reminds herself that she’s not alone in feeling anxiety and doubt. “There are so many people out there like you, Miche. Black girls and minorities of all kinds, working-class kids from big cities and small towns… who are uncertain about whether they belong but have so much to offer the world.”

Ultimately, she encourages her younger self to practice self-love. “You’re more than enough, Miche. You always have been and you always will be.”

Last August, Obama offered similar words of encouragement to first-generation students entering college as a part of Good Morning America‘s “First Gen” series.

“As a first-generation college graduate myself, I know it isn’t easy to get to this point,” said Obama. She recalled the challenges she faced at Princeton, from feelings of anxiety to struggling to know which classes to choose.Four strategies to support first-generation students

But she encouraged first-gen students not to “waste any time worrying about whether [they] belong. Instead, put that energy into working hard and learning.”

“These years are a precious opportunity to discover who you are and what you love doing, so be brave,” she said. “Take some risks. Make some mistakes, and then learn from them” (Obama, CBS, 12/11/2018; Lang, Time, 8/16/2018; Good Morning America, 8/16/2018).

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