Taking a gap year between high school and college can be life-changing. Malia Obama decided to take one before starting at Harvard to complete an internship with Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, and now Black-ish star Yara Shahidi, whose recommendation letter from Michelle Obama helped her get into the same ivy league school, is doing something similar. In her year off, Shahidi will be filming a new Black-ish spinoff called, hilariously, College-ish, but she’ll also be giving back by continuing her work mentoring young women.
In a recent interview with InStyle, Shahidi said that her efforts to help students in low-income communities will be a priority in her year off. In 2016, Shahidi helped launch a young women’s mentoring program called Yara’s Club, where she talks with students about education, social issues, and self-improvement. She has also worked with DoSomething.org to encourage girls to go into the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).
“We already did a lot this year,” she told InStyle. “But there’s so much more to be done.”
Even before she had been accepted to Harvard, Shahidi always planned to take time off between finishing her senior year through Dwight School‘s online program this past spring and starting college. “I’ve been working more than half of my life and that’s always been balanced with school and all of the other responsibilities,” she told People in 2016, “so to have a year to focus on work and to focus on specified interests will be nice before I pick a career and choose what I want to study and my life path.”
Shahidi will spend part of the year playing a student, at least — her Black-ish character Zoey heads off to college in the show’s spinoff.
Do you think taking a gap year is a good idea? Let us know @BritandCo!
(h/t InStyle; photo via Maury Phillips/Getty)