“As a first-generation college student myself, I know how intimidating it can be to take that leap and pursue your educational dreams"

By Sean Neumann
January 07, 2020 10:15 AM

Former First Lady Michelle Obama is launching a new IGTV series on Instagram that will follow the lives of four first-year college students from across the country.

The new series, which is produced by ATTN: in partnership with Obama’s Reach Higher program, is called A Year of Firsts and “each episode will highlight the journey and personal stories of students as they take on their freshman year of higher education,” according to a news release Tuesday.

A trailer for A Year of Firsts began streaming on Tuesday morning.

The six-episode series will premiere in mid-January on IGTV and run through June, documenting students as they “explore issues like the academic stress of college, making new friends, college affordability, and the physical and mental health while in college.”

“As a first-generation college student myself, I know how intimidating it can be to take that leap and pursue your educational dreams,” Obama, 55, said. “That’s why I’m so proud of these students.”

“By sharing their stories, they’re helping others see that the ups and downs of the first year of college are something everyone goes through—and they’re creating a supportive community for others facing similar challenges,” she continued.

Michelle Obama
“A Year of Firsts” will premiere in mid-January.
| Credit: ATTN/ Instagram

The trailer for the series shows four students filming their daily lives, in class and around campus, and highlights the hectic life of a first-year student: chugging coffee to get through another study session or rushing off to a part-time job after class.

“As Mrs. Obama highlights in each episode, there are many hidden challenges to making it through college,” said ATTN: co-founder Matthew Segal in the news release. “This series will meet many students where they live—on Instagram—and share candid perspectives about how to overcome barriers. We’re thrilled to be partnering with Mrs. Obama and Reach Higher to engage and inspire students to invest in themselves through higher education.”

ATTN: previously produced Here’s the Deal with former Vice President Joe Biden, which they said was the first IGTV series with a major political figure. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Indianan mayor Pete Buttigieg also use the platform.

College — and education — has been a major theme of Obama’s last year. In addition to international trips focusing on girls’ access to school, and giving advice to incoming freshmen, she recently dropped off her youngest daughter Sasha for her first year.

The former first lady told PEOPLE in December about the emotional moment she and former President Barack Obama dropped Sasha off at her dorm last year.

“As a parent, one of the most important things we can give our children is the freedom to find their own way in the world,” Mrs. Obama said, adding that she believes it’s important to give young adults space as they grow. “Girls need to have the chance to create and explore and skin their knees from time to time, too.”