Oakland Community College students celebrated Detroit’s First College Signing Day, featuring speeches by First Lady Michelle Obama, University of Michigan football Coach Jim Harbaugh and Grammy winning singer Ciara.
But the real spotlight was on thousands of college-bound students who proudly proclaimed their college choices to thousands of attendees, including 40 students who will attend OCC.
“Take this in,” Obama told students as she took the stage. “This is for you. All those nights you stayed up studying, all the tests, all the essays, all the applications and financial aid forms you had to fill out, think about all the times you thought you weren’t going to make it, the times you questioned whether you were smart enough, whether you deserved this moment. You made it and we are so proud of you.”
She explained the purpose of signing day.
“Signing day shouldn’t be just for elite athletes but for people like you who have worked so hard. Shining a light on academic achievements is something we don’t do enough of.”
She reminded students it’s not going to be easy.
“When I showed up at Princeton, I was totally overwhelmed,” she said. “I didn’t have any friends. I didn’t even have the right size sheets for my bed. So naturally, at first, I was pretty lonely.”
She told students to have a plan, talk to advisors, get tutors, seek out professors when they do not understand, be on top of their financial aid, do extracurricular activities, do internships, ask for help when they need it.
“I want to be very clear that getting into college is not the ultimate goal, the ultimate goal is to graduate and get that degree,” she said.