Michelle Obama's College Counselor Told Her She Wasn't 'Princeton Material'
It turns out Mrs. Obama was first lady material, too.
November 16, 2018 at 10:17 pm
Tuesday marked the highly anticipated release of former first lady Michelle Obama's memoir, Becoming, in which she details everything from growing up in Chicago to her eight years as the country's first Black first lady.
Before she and husband former President Barack Obama set their sights on the White House, Mrs. Obama was an accomplished lawyer, having earned her J.D. from Harvard Law School. Before attending Harvard, the women's rights activist earned her undergraduate degree from Princeton University. However, the accomplished scholar likely would not have walked the halls of the Ivy League institution, or even the White House, had she followed the advice of her college counselor.
According to Business Insider, Mrs. Obama picked Princeton as her first choice because her older brother, Craig, was a student there. Much to her dismay, her counselor at Chicago's Whitney Young School felt Mrs. Obama's qualifications were not a match for the New Jersey school.
"'I'm not sure,' she said, giving me a perfunctory, patronizing smile, 'That you're not Princeton material,'" the forever FLOTUS wrote of the counselor in her memoir.
Mrs. Obama also wrote she couldn't remember any details about the counselor — like the woman's race or age — because she "deliberately and almost instantly blotted this experience out."
As the saying goes, "a wolf doesn't lose sleep over the opinion of sheep," and Mrs. Obama fully intended on proving the college counselor wrong.
"I wasn't going to let one person's opinion dislodge everything I thought I knew about myself," she wrote in Becoming.
Nearly, seven months later, she received her acceptance letter from Princeton.
Ironically, when she set foot on her new campus that fall, Mrs. Obama confessed that her colleagues underwhelmed her.
"I'm expecting brilliance. Genius. And then what I discover is, wow, there's a lot of arbitrariness to this stuff, you know?" she revealed to CBS This Morning co-host Gayle King.
"There's a debate about affirmative action when it comes to race. What I point out is that I got to Princeton, I realized there's a whole — all kinds of affirmative action that goes on. There are kids who get in because they're athletes. There are kids who get in because there's a legacy. It's just that race stands out. But it was important for me to see that."
Michelle Obama kicked off her nationwide Becoming tour on Tuesday at Chicago's United Center, joined by fellow Chicago native Oprah Winfrey. The Chicago Tribune notes the event was filled "with hope, with healing, with gratitude."
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