Michelle Obama shared a rare throwback photo on Instagram Tuesday and reflected on her “scary” experience as a first-generation, black college student at “white and well-to-do” Princeton University.
“This is me at Princeton in the early 1980s,” the former first lady captioned the vintage photo of herself. “I know that being a first-generation college student can be scary, because it was scary for me. I was black and from a working-class neighborhood in Chicago, while Princeton’s student body was generally white and well-to-do.”
“I’d never stood out in a crowd or a classroom because of the color of my skin before. But I found close friends and a mentor who gave me the confidence to be myself,” she continued. “Going to college is hard work, but every day I meet people whose lives have been profoundly changed by education, just as mine was.”
Obama, who graduated from Princeton in 1985, also encouraged new college students to “be brave and stay with it” and extended her congratulations to the Class of 2018.
The former first lady previously recounted her difficulties adjusting to life at Princeton in a 2014 video aimed at fellow first-generation college students.
“Neither of my parents graduated from college, so when I got to campus as a freshman, I’ll admit I was a little overwhelmed,” Obama said in the video.
Earlier on Tuesday, Obama shared another throwback photo of herself as a little girl with parents Marian and Fraser Robinson.
Obama uncovered the photos while working on her highly anticipated first memoir, Becoming, out Nov. 13.
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“Over the next few days, I’ll be sharing some photos and memories from my book, BECOMING. My father, Fraser, taught me to work hard, laugh often, and keep my word,” Obama, 54, captioned the first photo. “My mother, Marian, showed me how to think for myself and to use my voice. Together, in our cramped apartment on the South Side of Chicago, my family helped me see the value in our story, in my story, and in the larger story of our country.”