FLOTUS asks herself: ‘How do I want to impact the world?’


First Lady Michelle Obama and winners of the Seventeen Better Make Room essay on the May cover of Seventeen.James White/Seventeen

First Lady Michelle Obama and winners of the Seventeen Better Make Room essay on the May cover of Seventeen.

Ignore the doubters and aim high, First Lady Michelle Obama counsels teenage girls.

“When it was time for me to apply to colleges there were some counselors who said, ‘Maybe, with Princeton, you’re reaching a little high,’” she told Seventeen. “And I thought, ‘You really don’t think I can do it?’ But here’s what I did: I decided to ignore the doubters. I plunged ahead and I got in. I went on to Harvard Law School and every step of the way I used those doubting voices as motivation.”

The first lady and two winners of the Better Make Room essay contest grace one of the covers of the magazine. The special flip cover issue features singer Meghan Trainor on the other May cover. It goes on sale April 19.

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The Better Make Room initiative motivates high school students to “get a better education, have a better career, imagine a better future and live a better life.”

Seventeen is among the sponsors of this initiative and the magazine invited readers to write essays about how they’re trying to secure spots at their dream schools.

The winners, Gemma Busoni and Zaniya Lewis, were invited to the White House.

There, they were treated to advice from the First Lady, the only one who earned diplomas from two Ivy League universities.

Not every high school has a definitive blueprint for life. And that’s just fine, she told the girls.

First Lady Michelle Obama is featured in the May issue of Seventeen. It is a special issue featuring Meghan Trainor on one cover and First Lady Michelle Obama and the two winners of the Seventeen Better Make Room essay contest on the other.James White/Seventeen

First Lady Michelle Obama is featured in the May issue of Seventeen. It is a special issue featuring Meghan Trainor on one cover and First Lady Michelle Obama and the two winners of the Seventeen Better Make Room essay contest on the other.

“I always tell people, the question of what you want to be when you grow up is one that you will eternally be answering.” Obama said. “I’m still asking myself that question! What am I going to do when I leave here? How do I want to impact the world? I’ve gotten used to the fact that I don’t have to know. I’m always going to be discovering new parts of myself, and you’ll find that you will be too.”

Obama, who is mom to an incoming freshman, older daughter, Malia, clearly remembers how she felt at 17.

And at no point did she daydream about someday becoming the First Lady of the United States or that a female President is a very much a possibility.

“When I was growing up, the notion that we would have an African-American president, the possibility that we would have a woman president, that wasn’t even on the horizon,” she said. “I didn’t believe it until we walked into the White House!”

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