Michelle Obama’s address to WMST High School’s Graduating Class

I was impressed by Michelle Obama’s address to the graduating class of Washington Math Science Technical High School, because I have a son of my own preparing for university, and because I teach at one and see so many students letting their time and considerable talents slip away. I went back to collect the main suggestions she had so that I can share them more easily with my son and students.

  • Here are her suggestions:
  • You are responsible for your own experiences.
  • Own your voice. Be an engaged, active participant.
  • Raise your hand that first day. Ask a question.
  • Don’t be afraid to be wrong. Don’t be afraid to sound unclear.
  • Get to know your professors. Introduce yourself. Attend their office hours.
  • Be in their face.
  • Get them to clarify anything you don’t understand; that’s their job.
  • Open yourselves up to the entire college experience.
  • Make new friends.
  • Learn about others’ cultures and experiences.
  • Get to know people who aren’t like you.
  • Try some classes that sound intimidating.
  • Learn a language.
  • Read lots of books.
  • Travel.
  • Challenge your mind to embrace the diversity of the world you live in.
  • Let people know you.
  • Remember graduation day.
  • Get to work.
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