It’s no secret that I idolize Michelle Obama. She went to Princeton, graduated from Harvard, joined the law firm Sidley & Austin where she met Barack and later went on to marry him. It didn’t just end there, she then made him the president of the United States – a fact I’m sure he wouldn’t contest. I could go on writing about her various accolades and initiatives, but I’m going to talk about adopting her mindset.


She states “If my future were determined just by my performance on a standardized test, I wouldn’t be here. I guarantee you that.”

Now what can one garner from that? That tests aren’t an accurate reflection of your intelligence. Yes, they matter, I’m not denying that. What I am denying is that they should be a mode of measurement when it comes to self-worth. It’s easy as an academic to rest your whole heart on a grade, but it’s also unhealthy (when it’s not what you want or worked for). If you’re one of the people who defines themselves by a perfect GPA, you need to find something outside of that to rest your security in self on. Remember you’re kind, important, resourceful. Why am I saying all this? Because it’s too easy to get upset over something you can’t change. However, what you can change is how you respond.

“You should never view your challenges as a disadvantage.  Instead, it’s important for you to understand that your experience facing and overcoming adversity is actually one of your biggest advantages.”

Could she be more wise? So many uni kids work part-time jobs, full time jobs, have kids, pay rent, pay loans, manage a million other things yet still come to school, still work hard and still manage to survive exams. Michelle explains why having so much on your plate is actually a blessing in disguise:

“…before I came to the White House and I worked as a dean at a college. In that role, I encountered students who had every advantage –- their parents paid their full tuition, they lived in beautiful campus dorms.  They had every material possession a college kid could want –- cars, computers, spending money. But when some of them got their first bad grade, they just fell apart.  They lost it, because they were ill-equipped to handle their first encounter with disappointment or falling short.”

Here, Michelle makes me not want a perfect life. I want to be equipped to handle disappointment, as that seems like something life tends to throw at you.



More Michelle-isms: “I never cut class. I loved getting A’s, I liked being smart. I liked being on time. I thought being smart is cooler than anything in the world.”


“You don’t want to be with a boy who’s too stupid to appreciate a smart young woman.”

So, to break it down, how does one gain Michelle’s mindset?:

  • When you fail, try again
  • Don’t miss class
  • See learning as exciting
  • Don’t be with someone who can’t appreciate intelligence



Ps Southside with you comes out August 26 (The movie about Barack and Michelle’s first date