Malia Obama officially moves in to Harvard University freshmen dorms
By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS
Photo: B Scott / @lovebscott Twitter
Former President Barack Obama’s eldest daughter Malia Obama officially joined Harvard University’s Class of 2021. On Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, Malia moved into Harvard’s freshmen dorms. The former president and first lady Michele Obama helped their daughter move into her dorm in Yards reserved for freshman. The move was low key, with Malia looking to fit in rather than outshine her fellow classmates. Former President Obama and First Lady Michelle were seen helping their daughter with boxes and leaving her dorm building after Malia was settled in. The president was spotted the same day at Harvest restaurant in Harvard Square.
Malia is Harvard legacy both the president and first lady attended Harvard Law School in the late 1980s and early 1990s, where the president made history as the first African American Harvard Law Review editor. The country’s most prestigious and oldest college was home to many famous alumni, including eight former presidents and a number presidential children including two that went on to become president, John Quincy Adams, and George W. Bush. Malia will hardly be the only famous Harvard freshmen on campus this year, actress Yara Shahidi is also attending, and even received a letter of recommendation from the former first lady. Shahidi stars in ABC’s “Black-ish” but deferred enrollment until 2018 while she films the spin off “Adult-ish.”
Last year, the Obamas said they did not press their daughter to attend an Ivy League university. Former President Obama relayed they told Malia, “I don’t want them to think, ‘Oh I should go to these top schools.’ We live in a country where there are thousands of amazing universities. So, the question is: What’s going to work for you?” The president advised his daughter “not to stress too much” and reminded her “Just because it’s not some name-brand, famous, fancy school doesn’t mean that you’re not going to get a great education there.” In the end, Malia opted for the Ivy League crown jewel that tops national and international university rankings.
The former first daughter, 19 graduated high school in 2016 and was accepted that year but decided to take a gap year. In the past year, her father left office, her family moved out of the White House. In the fall, Malia went on a trip to Bolivia and Peru, the Boulder, Colo. company Where There Be Dragons that specializes in gap year and summer programs. Since her father left office, she interned at the Weinstein Company, attended the Sundance Film Festival, protested the Dakota Access pipeline project and vacationed in Aspen, Colorado. Malia then spent her summer on family vacations in Bali and Martha’s Vineyard and rocked out at Chicago’s Lollapalooza.
Malia has shown an interest in film, having had two other internships on television shows. In summer 2014, Malia was a production assistant for CBS’ now cancelled sci-fi series “Extant” starring Halle Berry, and in the summer of 2015, Malia interned on Lena Dunham’s HBO series Girls. Her interests are sparking speculation as to what her major or concentration would be while at Harvard.
Boston Globe reporter Steve Annear attempted to score an interview and approached Obama’s eldest daughter. Malia “declined” the interview, and explained “I can’t,” but as Annear recounted she “politely returned a handshake.” Tuesday, Aug. 22 was Harvard’s official move-in day for freshmen, but students who needed to were allowed “to move in a day early, based on travel schedules, athletic schedules, or other needs.” Freshmen orientations began on Tuesday, while classes start on Aug. 30. Annear was the only one who approached the former first daughter for her celebrity; instead, she appeared speaking with fellow freshmen.
Still, Twitter was filled with tweets from her classmates broadcasting Malia sightings and catching photos of her parents on campus. One student went overboard on Twitter with her excitement as she saw her brother chatting with Malia, posting a couple of tweets and a photo declaring “My brother and Malia are about to be besties,” facing a backlash the student deleted her tweets.
During Malia’s senior year, President Obama told Ellen DeGeneres, “Malia is more than ready to leave, but I’m not ready for her to leave.” When asked about speaking at her graduation, the then president replied, “Malia’s school asked if I wanted to speak at commencement and I said ‘Absolutely not.’ I’m going to be wearing dark glasses, sobbing.” Both the former president and first lady were spotted leaving Malia’s dorm wearing sunglasses although it was dark outside, attempting to cover their emotions at dropping off their first born at college.
Related: Malia Obama to join Harvard’s Class of 2021 in fall 2017 after gap year
Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.