Now that the former first family has returned to public life, they're making it clear that the focus of their post-White House work will center around young people. Friday was College Signing Day, which former first lady Michelle Obama started four years ago, and she had some advice for high school seniors (and everyone, really).
Obama spoke at MTV's College Signing Day event in New York City and seemed much more relaxed now that the weight of the entire world isn't on her and her husband's shoulders, sporting a Princeton T-shirt and sneakers. She congratulated a theater full of high school seniors about to become the first in their families to attend college and told them how important it is to find a community while they are in school.
"Getting in was just the beginning, because there will be struggles. I certainly had my share of struggles," Obama said. "You’re not supposed to go through this on your own. No one gets through college, or life, on their own."
She explained that when things get difficult, it doesn't help to keep it all to yourself. "Don’t sit in your room alone. Do not stew or stir," she told the students. "Go out and build your base of support… You cannot do this alone. I didn’t. No one on this stage did, and we are not expecting that from you."
Those other people she mentioned were the dozens of celebs who showed up to congratulate and inspire the high school seniors in the crowd. Everyone from Ashely Graham, to Bella Hadid, to Charlamagne tha God was there, and Nick Cannon emceed the whole event. You know, just a casual Friday morning.
The former FLOTUS continued, "Once you find that community — and you have to find your community in college, and it may take some time — you’re gonna get this thing. You're gonna soar, and you’re gonna continue to make us proud."
Of course, she couldn't get through an entire speech without at least alluding to politics. "We need you prepared to be the next generation of leaders," she told the students. "There’s stuff going on out there, and thankfully we have you to take up that challenge."
Obama made education one of her main focuses while first lady, and she's still dedicated to making going to college more exciting than getting into the NBA or scoring a recording contract.
"The number of acceptance letters that you get should be more important than the number of follower you have on social media," she said. "That's the kind of goal we need to be setting. That’s the bar we want you to reach."
Last month, her husband told students in Chicago that he wants to "prepare the next generation of leadership to take up the baton and take their own crack at changing the world." Michelle mimicked those sentiments, saying, "My presence here today is no accident, because I might not live in the White House any more, but Barack and I are gonna keep on celebrating you all, and supporting you, and lifting you up, no matter what house we live in."
She added, "Our belief in the power of education to transform your lives is real and it’s gonna be at the core of everything we do going forward."