Before she was the first lady of the United States, Michelle Obama was just another high schooler fretting over crushes.
“Malia and I were talking recently about all the little things we’d stress over in junior high and high school — whether we’re wearing the right clothes, a snarky comment somebody made about us, the boys we crushed on, and on and on and on,” said Obama, who’s currently promoting her memoir Becoming.
“We laughed about how many hours were spent inside our heads, hoping a boy would ask us to dance, or stewing over a big test, just doing everything we could to avoid even the most minor embarrassments,” she said.
As a teen growing up in Chicago, Obama admits she often wondered whether “this kind of obsessive thinking was unique to me and my girlfriends, but I realize now that it was something every girl feels.”
“What’s inspiring to me is that so many of the young women I’ve met … are triumphing in incredible ways,” the 54-year-old added. “Unlike my generation, they’re not as held back by the societal belief that girls and boys can’t do the same things.”
Of course, Obama didn’t let her stints of boy craziness get in the way of her success either, going on to earn a degree from Harvard Law School in 1988 and eventually pursuing a career in public service.
In a sit-down interview at Glamour Magazine’s Let Girls Learn global conversation in 2015, Obama told the girls in attendance to prioritize their schooling and shrug off boys who aren’t into smart girls.
She encouraged the audience to walk away from any negativity, “whether that’s [coming from] your boo or your best friend.” Then, she shared some advice that’s just as solid as anything we read in Seventeen mag growing up:
“There is no boy at this age that is cute enough or interesting enough to stop you from getting your education,” Obama said. “If I had worried about who liked me and who thought I was cute when I was your age, I wouldn’t be married to the president of the United States.”