It’s immersion day at the University of Cape Town where 55 high school students from nearby townships are spending Thursday learning about the college experience and meeting with student mentors and faculty.
No doubt, however, the coolest part of their day was the time they spent chatting with first lady Michelle Obama, who encouraged them to dream big. She said that she sees in them and all of the young people she meets during her travels the same promise that she sees in her own daughters.
“When I see them, I see you. When I see you, I see them,” she said.
Obama told the group that they mustn’t think of the university as a “foreign place” and encouraged them to believe that they would fit right given the opportunity.
“Getting into a school like this isn’t some kind of magical process. There is no magic dust that helps students succeed. Nowadays it is really about how hard you are willing to work,” she said, pointing to her own humble beginnings growing up in “a little bitty apartment.”
Success isn’t about where you come from, she counseled, “working hard and believing that you can do it,” is what matters most. Then, it was off to her next stop, a meeting with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, but not before generously sharing with the students her now-trademark hugs.
Check out BET.com for daily updates from the first lady’s trip. Twitter users will be able to track updates about the first lady’s experiences and interact with others who are following the trip with the hashtag #youngafrica.
(Photo: AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)