President Obama gives law student life advice

About an hour into President Barack Obama’s Jan. 14 town hall meeting in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Tulane Law School second-year student Anjana Turner jumped for joy.

After fielding audience members’ questions touching on the environment, education, criminal justice, his biggest goal before leaving office and more, Obama called on Turner (Tulane Law School class of ’17).  

“I just want to say that we’re very inspired by you and the First Lady,” she told him, noting that she was attending the event with her younger sister, high school freshman Alexis Fontenette, and law school friend Shaun Abreu (class of ’18). “And we want to be just like you guys, so can you help us? Give us some tips.”

With that, Turner scored almost eight minutes of life advice from the 44th U.S. president.

“The most important tip I would have is, make sure not only are you working hard to deserve that investment, but that you’re also investing in the next generation coming up behind you,” Obama said. “If you do that, then you’re going to do great things. Your sister will do great things.”

He continued: “And the one other thing I tell young people all the time — don’t worry so much about what you want to be, worry about what you want to do. Worry about the kind of person you want to be and what you want to accomplish.”

He said that by passionately pursuing a goal, people can make a difference, whether they reach the echelons of power or work in their community “to clean up a site and plant gardens and make sure that the water is clean.”

Turner, who calls herself a political junkie, said, “I wanted to ask the president a simple personal question rather than a policy question” that had previously been addressed during the State of the Union or at press conferences.

Watch the town hall video. Turner’s question comes at 1:01:55.

Linda P. Campbell is Tulane Law School’s director of communications.