Michelle Obama was greeted with a standing ovation from Howard University's freshman class – which includes Nick Cannon

By Tierney McAfee
September 01, 2016 03:55 PM
Susan Walsh/AP

Michelle Obama may not get to see daughter Malia off to college for another year, but on Thursday the first lady was on hand to wish Nick Cannon and his classmates well in their first year at Howard University.

New Howard students gathered in the school’s auditorium erupted in cheers when they found out they were getting a surprise visit from not only Late Night Show host Seth Meyers and America’s Got Talent host
Nick Cannon – who recently enrolled as a freshman at the university – but also from the first lady.

Obama was greeted with a standing ovation after Meyers introduced her. Then she, Meyers and Cannon answered questions from the audience and the first lady shared some words of wisdom with the class of 2020: “Don’t rush to ballin’,” she said. “Grow into your lifestyle.”

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Obama also encouraged students to “step out of your comfort zones and soar,” choose a major they are passionate about and make the most of internship opportunities.

She added that her personal assistants are all former White House interns who stood out. “My life is controlled by 20-something-year-olds,” she joked. “It’s really annoying.”

The first lady also said that laughter is the best medicine when it comes to de-stressing.

“Laughter is a huge de-stressor, so make sure you get that in,” she said.

Meyers asked Cannon why he decided to go back to school, given he is in his 30s and already has a successful career.

“I’m not here for a degree. I’m here because I have a real thirst for knowledge,” Cannon said, prompting students to snap their fingers in agreement.

The visit to the Washington, D.C. university was part of the first lady’s Reach Higher initiative urging students to go to college, and her Better Make Room campaign to connect with students through social media.

The visit will be featured in a Late Night segment airing next week.