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Student interviews Michelle Obama

Published: 19 April 2021

Final year medicine student, Khadija Owusu, recently spoke with Michelle Obama. The opportunity came about through links with her secondary school and, as Khadija explains, the occasion was not the first time that she has met the former First Lady of the United States.

“Since graduating from my secondary school, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, I have maintained a close relationship with the school. Every year I partake in their International Women’s Day celebrations, and also speak with some of the students to inspire and encourage them to follow their dreams and aspirations.” Khadija begins.

“Michelle Obama has also maintained a close relationship with the school having visited previously. As she has recently released her new book Becoming – The Young Readers edition, the publishers thought it would be great for Michelle to have a discussion/interview with some current and ex-students of Elizabeth Garrett Anderson.

“I was excited in the build-up to speaking to Michelle, however, I don’t think I fully registered what I was about to do until the day of the interview as I was busy preparing for my Finals.

“I decided to ask her about how she balanced her leadership roles whilst being successful academically, and how she is also able to maintain her family relationships and mental health. I am asked about this a lot so I thought it would be good to pose to her.

“As women, we often believe we should do it all and, most of the time, do not put ourselves first. However, as Michelle beautifully and correctly put it, we are not supposed to always have it all. We must ensure we live in the now, in your current chapter.”

The interview was not Khadija’s first meeting with Michelle Obama having met her on two separate occasions previously. Describing these occasions Khadija adds, “I first met Michelle in 2009 and again in 2012 when she invited some of us from Elizabeth Garrett Anderson to the White House for a short trip to meet her, Barack Obama as well as some very inspiring and influential women.

“The only key difference between then and now is the fact that I have matured further as a person and I’m at the stage where I’m about to complete my degree. When I went to Washington I was 15 years old and, although I was young, I took the experience in. I can now see the impact it has had on me in terms of pursuing medicine and the wider initiatives that I am a part of.”

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