Alumni Feature: Gap Year Edition

Mia Bostic and Her Hawaiian Adventures


Mia Bostic

Mia Bostic harvests fruit at ONO Organic Farms in Maui, Hawaii. Photo courtesy of Mia Bostic.

Kyri Antholis, News Editor

Mia Bostic is a graduate from the C.H.S. class of 2018, and just began her first year at the University of Virginia. From 2018 to 2019, she deferred a year from college and spent her time working and traveling before continuing with her academics. 


Q: When and how did you decide to take a gap year? What was your original purpose in taking a gap year?

A: I decided that I would be taking a gap year at the beginning of my senior year of high school. The idea to take a gap year was partially mine and partially my mothers. We both knew that going directly into college would not be in my best interest because of how much I invested myself in highschool. I needed a break. I also really wanted to experience life outside of a classroom or structured setting at this stage of my life.


Q: What did you do for your gap year, and how did you decide to do that?

A: I knew that I wanted to travel to either Hawaii and/or Costa Rica. It ended up being that the internship opportunities in Hawaii were more appealing. 

For the first part of my year, I did a marketing internship at the Outdoors Company I work for in Virginia Beach doing Eco-Kayak tours. 

Then I moved back to Charlottesville and worked as a waitress at the Pigeon Hole and as a sales assistant at the Impeccable Pig, a clothing store downtown, for 3 months, saving up money for my travels. 

I discovered an agricultural internship on the World Wide Opportunity for Organic Farming at a farm on the east side of Maui, called ONO Organic Farms. I had no clue if I was interested in farming or not but I knew that I loved being outside and when else would I have the opportunity to do something like this. It ended up becoming my second home, so I stayed there for much longer than intended and absolutely loved it. 

I contributed to almost every aspect of the farm. This is a full production farm that supplies grocery stores like Whole Foods and restaurants across the island. I harvested, packaged, planted, and fertilized the fruit trees. But the main thing I did was manage the farm’s fruit market in the town of Hana, which was 30 minutes down the Hana Highway. That was my favorite part or my experience. I loved getting to meet people from all over the world who were coming to Hana and had never tried some of our exotic fruit that we grow on the farm.


Q: What was your experience applying and entering college having taken a gap year?

A: When I was a senior, I knew I was going to take a gap year, so I was looking at colleges that I knew would allow me to take a year off before attending. It was my game plan to apply to schools, choose a school, and then write my letter of deferment before taking my gap year. I thought that would be a lot harder than it was, but, as long as you have some sort of plan for your gap year, the Dean will most likely be all for it! 

The only challenging thing about waiting a year before going to college is that some information gets lost in the transition. My main issue was making sure that the school had all of my credits. But all in all, it’s not a difficult transition, logistically speaking. 

On the other hand, transitioning back into the lifestyle of school has been a definite challenge. However I think the feeling of being back in an academic atmosphere and actually being excited to learn is SO amazing. It’s refreshing to be excited about my classes again. I remember that I would often have these real world experiences and learn something new, and I would realize how badly I wanted to learn more about that topic or understand something better. That’s what college is for! 

I won’t lie, going from living in a glorified tent to a dorm room is a tough transition, but I think that one of the best benefits of a gap year is how adaptable and unstoppable you can feel because your experiences. I knew I had to take a gap year, and I am so glad I did. It allowed me to truly discover what I wanted to focus on and how important it is to be serious about higher education. 


Q: Why would you suggest taking a gap year?

A: I would only suggest not taking a gap year if you are not an independent person and are not looking to take a break from academics. It also took a lot of work to make my gap year happen. I funded my travels on my own, which is why half of the year involved me working different jobs and living at home (Free food! No rent!), and then I got to go travel. I will say, a gap year is an incredibly independent experience and not for everyone, but it made me thrive. 


Q: What was the most important thing you learned while on your gap year?

A: One lesson I learned time and time again was the message of paying it forward. In Hawaii, this goes hand in hand with their motto and lifestyle of practicing Aloha