Former First Lady Michelle Obama has launched a new documentary series following the lives of four freshman college students, TIME magazine reports.
Called A Year of Firsts, the project was produced by media company ATTN: in conjunction with Obama’s Reach Higher initiative. The series is set to begin airing on Instagram’s IGTV later this month, according to TIME.
Overcoming the odds
According to TIME, the six-episode docu-series will “follow the lives of four first-year students from across the U.S. as they maneuver adjusting to life in college.”
“Each of them has overcome tremendous odds to get where they are,” Obama said in a trailer for the series shared by TIME on Saturday. “And throughout the year, they’ll tell us what that first year of college is really like. The ups, the downs, and everything in between.”
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Taking the leap
According to ATTN:, the students in the series will “share candid perspectives about how to overcome barriers.” The company said in a statement that it is “thrilled to be partnering with Mrs. Obama and Reach Higher to engage and inspire students to invest in themselves through higher education.”
For her part, Obama said in a statement that the initiative hopes to take some of the fear out of freshman year for students who would otherwise feel like they don’t belong.
“As a first-generation college student myself, I know how intimidating it can be to take that leap and pursue your educational dreams,” Obama declared. She went on:
That’s why I’m so proud of these students. By sharing their stories, they’re helping others see that the ups and downs of the first year of college are something everyone goes through — and they’re creating a supportive community for others facing similar challenges.
The former first lady has experience with such challenges herself; according to Politico, Obama wrote in her senior college thesis that her experiences at Princeton University made her “far more aware of [her] ‘Blackness’ than ever before.”
“I have found that at Princeton no matter how liberal and open-minded some of my White professors and classmates try to be toward me, I sometimes feel like a visitor on campus; as if I really don’t belong,” Obama, writing under her maiden name, Michelle LaVaughn Robinson, remarked at the time. Now, she hopes the newest generation of college freshmen never has to experience the same thing.
The final episode of the former first lady’s new docu-series will be released in June, TIME reported.