Latina
Yes You Can Image Credit: Latina
Yes You Can Image Credit: Latina

Yes, You Can!

In an exclusive interview with Latina, Michelle Obama talks about the White House’s Reach Higher Education Initiative, her freshman year at Princeton, and the tools students need to succeed in school—and life.

Taiia Smart Young

Many Latinas are the first in their family to attend college. What advice do you have for a young Latina who may feel scared or out of place or thinks that she doesn’t belong?

When I was growing up, my family didn’t have a lot of money, and neither of my parents had a college degree. There were plenty of folks who doubted whether a girl like me was “college material.” My freshman year at Princeton, I was pretty anxious and homesick. I didn’t have any friends. I didn’t even bring the right size sheets for my dorm-room bed. After a few months, I realized that I needed to step up. I started reaching out to professors and making friends with juniors and seniors who became my mentors. Don’t wait to ask for help. There are countless people whose job is to help you succeed: deans, professors, resident advisors, and folks at the writing, tutoring, and counseling center. You have to go knocking on their door.

For many Latino students, entering college isn’t the problem—affording tuition is the challenge. What’s the most important resource the initiative offers to help students and their families pay for college?

The federal government provides $150 billion in grants, loans, and aid every year. But to get that money, you have to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Just go to fafsa.gov starting October 1. You can also keep track of the college app


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