"[The letters] reveal the search of a young man [looking] for meaning and identity," Rosemary Magee, the library director at the Atlanta school, said in a statement. "While intimate in a philosophical way, they reflect primarily a college student coming to terms with himself and others."
"In fact, they show the same kind of yearnings and issues that our own students face — and that students everywhere encounter," Magee continued. "Thus they will serve as sources of both inspiration and reassurance to people of all ages and backgrounds."
The letters, 30 pages in all, were handwritten in cursive to McNear after Obama transferred from California's Occidental College to Columbia University in New York.
"School. What intelligent observations can I glean from the first two weeks?" the twenty-something college student wrote in 1982. "I pass through the labyrinths, corridors, see familiar faces, select and discard classes and activities, fluctuate between unquenchable curiosity and heavy, inert boredom."
In another letter Obama talks about his feelings of isolation.
"The only way to assuage my feelings of isolation are to absorb all the traditions, classes, make them mine, me theirs. Taken separately, they're unacceptable and untenable," the young student wrote.
Though the letters were first acquired by the school in 2014, they've only recently been allowed to made public.
According to Pellom McDaniels III, the curator of the African American collections for the Rose Library, Obama's letters will be joining several other collections to "enrich research on African American history and culture."
"From slavery to the civil rights movement, and now, to the first African American president of the United States," McDaniels, said in a statement. "These collections provide tremendous insight into what can be described as a spiritual odyssey to wholeness."
The collection, part of Emory's Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library, will be available to scholars and students by appointment after its public release on October 20.