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PERSPECTIVE: FLOTUS Makes Surprise Visit To The Mecca

By Jaylin Paschal, Culture Staff Writer
Posted 5:30 PM EST, Thurs., Sept. 1, 2016

To begin the month of September, Howard University students had the opportunity to attend a co-curricular session to hear from NBC’s host of Late Night with Seth Meyers and “special guests” in the School of Business auditorium, Thursday, Sept. 1.

After filing into the auditorium, students soon found out Howard freshman Nick Cannon would be joining Seth Meyers, for a discussion on assimilating into college life. After Cannon shared his excitement about joining Howard’s Class of 2020, Meyers introduced another guest to the stage: First Lady Michelle Obama.

Bison greeted FLOTUS with a standing ovation, answering her question, “Are you surprised?” with an overwhelming “Yes!” Enthusiasm and excitement launched a Question and Answer session in which students took advantage of their opportunity to ask FLOTUS for college-survival tips and about her own experiences at Princeton University and Harvard Law School.

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Obama stressed during the session of the importance of focusing on your education, finding time to relax and taking risks in academic and extra-curricular spaces. She also encouraged students to dedicate energy to one’s passion. Obama, reminiscing on her time as a sociology major at Princeton, explained how important it is to choose to study what you’re interested in, rather than what others think you ought to be studying.

Meyers and Cannon offered words of wisdom as well, encouraging Howard students to network, use their resources and to take their time in college seriously.

Ending the discussion, Obama and Cannon answered a tough question: “How do we, as students of color, stay enthusiastic about learning and focused on education, when so much racial injustice serves as a distraction?”

It was empowering to be a part of a session in which Michelle Obama, the first African-American First Lady, could tell young students of color to “be encouraged,” in spite of the racism and prejudice, which seems to dominate the news cycle and the current political narrative.

While acknowledging the undeniable social and systemic issues with America, Obama shared that she still loved this country, and that Bison students were part of the reason she faith has in America’s continuous progress forward.

“Be encouraged,” she stated, to which was the defining statement of the event, as Bison left the session with inspiration for a successful semester.

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