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Michelle Obama To Help Get Students Ready For First Year Of College In YouTube Series

by | Dec 17, 2019 | Press | 0 comments

Former first lady Michelle Obama will offer advice for first-year college students as part of an original YouTube series.

Obama and her education initiative, Reach Higher, partnered with NowThis and YouTube to create a 10-episode “crash course” for college students. Titled, “A Students’ Guide to Your First Year of College,” the learning playlist is set to debut in September.

News of the collaborative effort came about a week after Obama hosted her annual Beating the Odds Summit at Howard University in Washington, D.C. Obama started the event in 2014 as a roundtable with a small group of students and has used it to give first-generation college-bound students tools to succeed at school.

A first-generation college graduate herself, Obama advised students at this year’s summit to major in something that excites them, reach out if they’re struggling and be patient when it comes to making friends. Regardless of the topic of the question, the former first lady’s advice largely centered on ensuring students knew they weren’t alone. That freshmen students were generally experiencing the same difficulties even if it might feel as if everyone had it together.

Years ago, Obama was one of those freshman students that found adjusting to college difficult at times.

“When my dad dropped me off at college, I remember feeling overwhelmed and I have a feeling that some of you might know what I’m talking about,” Obama said in a trailer for the YouTube series. “You’re not the only ones.”

This isn’t the first time Obama has spoken out about feeling overwhelmed when she arrived at Princeton University. In 2014, she shared in a YouTube video that she wasn’t sure how to choose her classes, find her classroom or even furnish her dorm room.

“At first I even worried that maybe I wasn’t as smart as some of my classmates but soon enough I realized that was all in my head,” Obama said. “I was just as smart as everyone else and I had just as much to contribute. I just had to have the confidence to believe in myself and the determination to work hard and ask for help when I needed it.”

Given that many students find themselves in the same boat floating on uncertain college waters, Obama said she was grateful for the opportunity to partner with YouTube Originals and NowThis. The crash course would focus on how to succeed in the first few months of college.

“They’re going to teach you everything from how to manage your time and money to the importance of finding a mentor and peers to help you along the way,” Obama explained.

Along with the first lady, who will be featured in her own video, according to the trailer’s YouTube description, experts and recent graduates will offer advice on personal wellness and helpful topics for the classroom.

“Most importantly it’ll help you take advantage of all those skills you’ve gained by overcoming obstacles on your path to today,” Obama said. “I can’t wait to see what you do in the years ahead.”

Other videos will include the panel at the most Beating the Odds Summit, which included Philadelphia Eagles player Malcolm Jenkins, the CEO of Robin Hood, one of the largest anti-poverty forces in America, Wes Moore and United States Women’s National Soccer Team player Mallory Pugh.

Reach Higher Executive Director Eric Waldo told Newsweek that the organization was “thrilled” that YouTube and NowThis helped it give voice to “crucial lessons” that will help students find a pathway to success in higher education.

“We know that countless students are apprehensive about how to succeed once they get to campus this fall … This series will make it easier for all students–and especially first-generation students –to successfully transition into college life,” Waldo explained.

YouTube was a great platform for the series, Reach Higher told Newsweek, because young people, especially members of Generation Z, those born after 1995, spend a lot of time on the website.

“They turn to YouTube for help understanding subjects that interest them and search for content that they can relate to,” Reach Higher said. “It was a natural fit for us to partner with YouTube.”

The video playlist will be available to stream live for free on September 4 on NowThis’ YouTube channel. If it’s successful, Reach Higher said they would be open to exploring expanding the concept.

This article was written by Jenni Fink and was published by Newsweek.

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Reach Higher and Better Make Room is housed within Common App, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization.