I took the fall semester of my senior year of college off, which most people told me was a bad idea, considering it's traditionally the best part of your college years. But I didn't feel particularly connected at school. My relationships were lacking depth, I wasn't learning much and it didn't feel comfortable. That's why taking time off for a semester of my last year didn't make me feel like I was missing out on much.

My operating mantra at the time? "This is your life." So I chose to, well, do what felt right.

In that time, I traded a 10,000 person campus for a 10 person office with the Holstee family, full of love, collective support, new relationships, and collaborative creation. In that time, I realized that doing what felt right wasn't just applicable to how I spent my time, but also how I spent my energy.

I didn't realize that when I was at college, but the Holstee family made me realize that feeling connected was a choice. Deepening relationships was a choice. Learning was a choice. And a place is home so much as you choose to make it home.

When it was time for me to return to school, my time with the Holstee family gave me a new mantra: "Life is about the people you meet and the things you create with them."

Want to reflect with us? Sign up for our Reflection & Roadmapping Workshop on December 14th!


Ankit Shah is an aspiring good guy that created Tea With Strangers — a movement to make empathy more approachable. He also works with SEEKHO to empower the dreams of societies in rural India. Previously, he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied Operations and Marketing.

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Our Themes

Distilled from our Manifesto, positive psychology, the science of mindfulness, and ancient philosophic studies we have identified twelve themes core to living both fully and mindfully. We mapped these twelve themes to each of the twelve months in a year. Together with our community we explore one each month.