Michelle Obama Talks Money, Food & Confidence to College Freshmen

Michelle Obama took the opportunity to pass on to college students the same practical and invaluable advice she's given her own daughters.

Former First Lady Michelle Obama had some wonderful advice for 100 first-generation college-bound students, continuing the Reach Higher initiative she started in the White House

Going off to college for the first time can be a challenge to any young person, many of which will have to deal with the responsibility of handling their own finances for the first time - and their freedom.


Michelle, who graduated from Princeton University in 1985, had plenty of helpful tips for the members of the Reach Higher project which endeavors to offer underrepresented and low-income students the possibility of a college education.

Michelle spoke at length to the 100 students who will be starting college this fall and gave them practical advice on how to avoid the common pitfalls of college life.

Hardest of all to deal with for Reach Higher students is the scholarship money or student loans.


Michelle told the students not to be intimidated by the more confident.-seeming and bold fellow colleagues they will meet on campus. 

“You always think that somebody else knows more than you do. I’ve been at probably every powerful table there is to be at. I have been on boards with some of the top CEOs. I’ve had dinner with the frickin’ Queen! I’ve been to the summit of world leaders. … They’re not smarter than you,” Michelle told them.


Michelle cautioned the students about losing sight of what is sensible in a sudden rush of feeling they can do whatever they want, and losing their focus.

“You get to college and it’s like, ‘I’m just going to eat chips, French fries and ice cream because  — you know, you’re free! And you’ll say the dorm food isn’t all that good,” she said.

Michelle alerted the students to the possible pitfall of homesickness and depression.

“In order to have good mental health, it’s not just counseling. It’s trying to live a balanced life. Whether you’re getting exercise really does matter. [Ask yourself] am I walking enough? Am I moving around? Am I just sitting in my room in the dark and I’m not getting outside and breathing in fresh air?” she advised


Hardest of all to deal with for Reach Higher students is the scholarship money or student loans.

“This is a tough thing to talk about and it’s a pressure that a lot of first-gen kids have because it’s that pressure from home. When you get your loan check — they’re going to give you a check — it might be $10,000, it might be $15,000, and it’s tempting to think that money is yours and that you can use it to help everybody,” she said.

She went on to explain in no uncertain terms that the money is for their education, to help the family back home, or bail anyone out of trouble.

“You cannot help folks back home until you are done with you,” she said.

And of course, one piece of advice Michelle gave to the students was...Enjoy yourself, but don't party too hard!


Former First Lady Michelle Obama is passing on the values and strengths she herself received from an extraordinary woman, her mother Marian Shields Robinson.

She took the opportunity to pay tribute to her mother in a post on mother's day and to thank her for her love and support.

"From an early age, she saw that I had a flame inside me, and she never tempered it. She made sure that I could keep it lit. Mom, thank you for kindling that fire within me, and for your example as a mother and a grandmother to our girls. We would never be who we are today without you. #HappyMothersDay, Mom. Love you. ❤️" she wrote.

Marian was the fourth of seven children and her mother's grandfather, Dolphus T. Shields, born in 1860, was the son of a slave.

This strong-willed and courageous lady was a huge influence on the woman who would grow up to be the First Lady of the United States, and an inspiration to millions around the world.

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