In honor of the United Nations' International Day of the Girl on Sunday, first lady Michelle Obama discussed her passion for promoting girls' education and the reason she recently launched the #62MillionGirls campaign.
"Growing up, my family didn’t have much money, and neither of my parents had a college degree, but they were determined to see me get the best education possible -- and that education was everything for me. It was the starting point for every opportunity I’ve had in my life. But so many girls never get that chance," she said in an interview with HerCampus.com, a publication for college girls. "As I’ve traveled the world, I have seen that these girls are so bright and so hungry to learn -- and I really see myself in these girls, I see my daughters in these girls."
Since 2012, the United Nations has designated Oct. 11 as International Day of the Girl to draw attention to fighting gender inequality, a cause that Obama has championed. In September, she launched #62MillionGirls, part of the White House’s Let Girls Learn initiative, to highlight the fact that tens of millions of girls worldwide are unable to attend school.
"I want young women ... to know about them and be inspired by them to not take your education for granted," Obama said in the interview. "If you ever face challenges at school and start to get frustrated, I want you to remind yourself that there are 62 million girls around the world who would give anything to be in your position."
In the interview, the first lady also shared advice for how to succeed in college.
"Don’t ever be afraid to ask for help. If you’re struggling in class, go to your professor’s office hours. If you’re having trouble writing a paper, get yourself to the writing center. If you’re struggling with issues in your personal life, seek out an advisor or counselor and talk to them about it," she said. "Getting help when you need it doesn’t make you weak -- it makes you smart."
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