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Recently, I discovered my love of podcasts. You may even say I have become a little obsessed, but there are so many to choose from. Well, my new favorite podcast as of lately is hosted by no other than my forever First Lady, Mrs. Michelle Obama. Michelle Obama continues to raise the bar as she constantly serves as a role model for women all over the world. In 2018, she released her New York Times bestselling memoir, Becoming. Then she gave us a behind the scenes look of her book tour and upbringing in her documentary Becoming available on Netflix in 2020. Well now she has released The Michelle Obama Podcast. Guests include President Barack Obama, some of Mrs. Obama’s closest friends, late night talk show host Conan O’Brien, her brother Craig Robinson, and more. The beauty of Michelle’s podcast is that it feels as if you are sitting right there with her as she shares these intimate conversations with listeners. Here are some of the lessons that I gained after listening to a few episodes. I hope that you can apply these to your life as well. 


“You have to do the grunt work”

Michelle Obama and her guest Valerie Jarrett touched on the importance of mentorship. As a senior in college, I have learned the great value of having a mentor in my life. They provide valuable insight and help you grow in ways that you may have never imagined. Still, even I struggle with trying to form a meaningful connection with a colleague, professor, or boss and cultivating that into a mentee-mentor relationship. It can be daunting at times trying to seek the “perfect” mentor., but you have to put yourself out there, because the work starts with you first. There are some common misconceptions about the idea of mentorship. One is young people believe that  mentoring is about being told what to do and having mentors show them the way. As mentees, it is important to ask yourself what you will be bringing to the relationship. One piece of advice that I will carry with me from this episode that everyone can take with them is that your attitude matters. It may be unlikely that you will start off working in your dream job, and that is okay! We all have to start somewhere. You have to do the grunt work first. To anyone reading this, know that relationships are everything when trying to find a mentor. Most of the rewarding relationships in my life start off as us being acquaintances first.  It takes time and hard work for it to work.

"Do what makes you happy"

Let’s face it. We all have experienced a lot of change lately. With the pandemic, protests, and trying to seek racial justice it has been a grueling time. What we are all going through can be a lot to navigate. What can be troublesome at times is that most of us are dealing with all of these emotions and change by ourselves. Mrs. Obama notes how important it is to reflect on the relationships we have with ourselves. Mrs. Obama and her guest Michelle Norris touched on being okay with not feeling like yourself. Mrs. Obama even admitted that she has experienced some form of low-grade depression. Hearing her say these words let me feel a sense of relief. I know that myself and so many other people feel validated  knowing that we are not alone. Even I have come to terms with feeling some level of depression these past few months. The first step is acknowledging these negative feelings that we may have. Also Michelle says she discovered that it is okay to just be. A lot of us are programmed to have a mindset that we must keep running at our whits ends.  I am guilty of this. I’m still learning to adjust to this new routine. Just remember to take care of yourself during this difficult time. And that can look different for different people. At the end of the day, do what makes you happy.  

“Failure is a natural part of life”

In this episode, Michelle sat down with a few of her mentees to discuss their experiences being a Black woman in America today. A lot of the sentiments that the women shared I could relate to from my own experiences. Michelle spoke on how black families are raised. Often we are brought up to take the safe route. Go to college to get an education. After that, get a job that will provide you with good benefits. Now, I can not speak for anyone else, but I was never for following the traditional path. I like to take risks if that means that I will be doing what I’m passionate about. One of Michelles mentees, Kristin Jones, shared that she had to be comfortable with failure. In return, that helped her become more confident with taking risks in her professional life. It is a natural part of life to fail. Without failures, how will you improve? So many of us will avoid taking on certain opportunities because we are afraid that we will not succeed. We set limitations on ourselves that should not exist.

These are some of the takeaways that I came across. Now when you listen to the podcast you may pick up your own gems. You can listen to The Michelle Obama Podcast on Spotify now.

Selena Roberts

Hampton U '21

Selena Roberts is a senior Strategic Communications major with an area of emphasis in Political Science minor from Spring Valley, NY. She is a part of the Freddye T. Davy Honors College, Student Government Association. Her Campus, Young Adults Advocating Change, and the Student Recruitment Team. Selena loves the performing arts and is a fan of romantic comedies. She loves to rewatch episodes of Insecure and listen to Jazmine Sullivan, SZA, and Brandy. She hopes to combine her love of media, traveling, and politics together after graduating from Hampton University.
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