Sol House Miami

As a way to thank you Nightwing, I have put aside 30 seats for Nightwing kids out of the 158 students we will accept this December.

This will be the ONLY time I can pull this off. Only this first semester.

But for the pilot I’ve gotten the green light and you, Nightwing, deserve it.

You did this!

Nightwing taught me a BIG lesson. Life comes down to people. Life comes down to community. For most of my career I’ve been obsessed with academics, but no longer. I see that life is bigger. There is no math equation that will help you solve the problems of real life, but there are tools that can make you better equipped.

So Nightwingers…Sol House launches to the public November 5th. With 19+ million online learners bored out of their minds at home or living off campus doing nothing but alcohol and drugs, we will be in demand so I am doing a pre-launch registration for Nightwing friends and family ONLY.

A bit about Miami below…

OUR PROPERTY is located on a resort right in the heart of Miami that is being converted into the coolest campus bubble you can imagine – with Covid testing protocols and facilities to keep you safe. Rather than taking your classes locked inside, why not take them by our palm tree-lined pool? The campus is filled with green space and activities to feed your mind, body and soul; think yoga in the morning, study during day either by the pool or at one of the many coworking labs, and drinks at our on-site bar in the evening. As a startup we have redesigned your traditional housing from the ground up: high speed internet connections, wireless sound systems, and artist-designed installations to encourage creativity (and, sometimes, just to look great on the ‘gram).

Sol House Miami property map below. Right on the Miami River! Minutes away from Winwood, South Beach, Downtown Miami, and Little Havana.

So reader, you know a college aged student or parent of one who is NEEDING support this Spring (especially with Covid, which we will be testing on site!), please send them the following info. Send to your best friend or family member.

Directions: Go to website and put in password below. It will prompt visitor to put in information. This site was just designed for you all. Someone from my team (or even me!) will reach out and invite them to a Nightwing community members zoom call where we walk through Miami Spring semester. Parents and kids can all be on same call. I have even done one for a Nightwinger’s entire sorority house. I’m okay with that, but know that we will only take at most 6 kids from one University.

www.sol-house.co

password: goldenticket

Please see this as a token of my appreciation to you. If I can help one SOL in your life, I will sleep better. I will spend my entire life paying forward all that you gave me…hope.

The GAG is off

I’m humbled, proud, and PSYCHED about announcing… 

Sol house is a global network of co-learning/living communities of digital learners from all around the world. 

Sol House is the first innovation in higher education in decades. Long overdue, it is a solution designed for the student with an emphasis on choice and high return on investment. 

Our houses are composed of learners from all over the world (not just American students) who share a common understanding: transformative learning does not happen between the walls of a classroom, but out there in the real world. 

At Sol House

Life is the ultimate teacher.

Sol House Solves: Traditional college education has not evolved for hundreds of years, and yet tuition continues to skyrocket. The average four-year cost of tuition and fees at a public university is over $170 thousand dollars. And yet, six years post-graduation, 50% of students are making less than $27 thousand dollars a year! On top of that, 73% of graduates are not even using their degree after entering the “real world”.

Look at this. 

This reality is criminal and the victims are our children. 

Just look at medical care, which we all agree is too expensive, but at least we can say the product has changed. Nothing has changed about college except the tuition. 

Same old. Read, study, forget, repeat. 

THE SOLUTION:

Bringing education to the modern age by leveraging advances in the field of education including best practices from the data sciences. We now understand how people learn. In addition, we have loads of data, our graduates. We can pinpoint how we have succeeded and failed in education. 

At Sol House it starts by leveraging technology.

On-line education has a lot to offer. For the first time since the industrial revolution we are seeing education return to its original promise, a better life. Education is beginning to give the gift of social mobility between social classes again. It is truly beautiful to watch. Education can again be a path of access, which has not been the case for the past decades where the cost of the degree was more than the market value.  Shackling our future leaders in debt.

We are also seeing an education revolution with the private sector entering and challenging higher education, which has failed them as well. Employers do not feel that University graduates have the skills to do the job.  Google’s online certification degrees is a great example. For 3 months on Coursera you can be certified from Google and they value that degree at the same level (if not higher) than your 4 year degree from MIT. That is $300 versus $296,000+. This is a HUGE moment in education. Google is not alone though. Harvard, Yale, Stanford, etc have embraced online education to reach the masses. You can take The Science of Wellbeing, the most popular course at Yale, online for FREE. 

Students have access to the best experts in the field with online learning at a fraction of the cost. 

Can I get an AMEN? 

Therefore, at Sol-House we welcome ALL digital learners. We welcome the online Harvard student as well as the online Google student. We also welcome the lost SOL who may be unsure of their next steps by helping them find FREE incredible courses to dabble in before investing 100,000s on a degree that research says they most likely will not use. 

However, one thing we all know is that online is NOT the solution as the REAL value of higher education (research speaking) is the network, the people. Its true. Think back to your college days. What have you taken away from it that to this day still returns value?  Answer: access, people. 

Always comes down to people. 

So while online education is a beautiful thing, it is not the sole solution. We need to invest in our youth, the next future generation, and allow them to find purpose, confidence, and independence. We need to incubate our youth into change makers and that is what we do at Sol House. We honor the soul for all of our sols.

Thus, we created Sol House to fill all the gaps currently not addressed in online education (the meta-skills: collaboration, critical thinking, communication, etc) AND what has never been addressed in campus education (mindfulness, life skills, connection, personal journey, confidence, diversity in practice, etc).

See how different we are below.

Let’s play a game…would you rather?

Would you rather learn at an artificial city made for youth with an emphasis on beer kegs or at a community of learners in the real world?

There is nothing real world about a college campus and at Sol-House we wonder if that is why so many students fail to “launch” into real life. 

Shhh….Little secret campuses are designed to “box” students in and this is on purpose. Without capturing student’s food and beverages services most colleges would go bankrupt. At Sol-House our houses are in locations that inspire. We modeled our houses to not need to capture F&B. We want our students OUT, not in, discovering themselves and pushing their boundaries. 

Woud you rather sit in rows or in spaces that inspire? 

Our classrooms resemble more of real life working situations. We have yet to see a workspace with rows of desks. This is the future. Let’s bring education up to speed.

Would you rather live in a dorm or in Talum (pic on the right)?

Average room and board at a college is $15,000, but what value do you get? A room with a bed on cinder blocks. 

At Sol House you get much more. You get a home away from home. A community of learners all eager to explore the world and make impact. You get the opportunity to travel all around the world at all the Sol Houses. You get to be part of the next generation of change makers. At Sol House you also get 1:1 life  coaching, on-site internship opportunities making impact in the world, breakfast, Sunday dinner, life Hacks curriculum, and access to our Sol House programming that includes yoga, cooking classes, speaker series, and more!

We believe you deserve that. We need this generation to succeed. We are invested in our students. At Sol House we believe that Gen Z will be instrumental in the future of our planet. We are all IN!

Would you rather spend your savings or keep them? Oh and remember you will be living much longer than ever imagined. This is incredible, but you will need more spending cash than you ever imagined. Not quite sure? Ask the baby boom generation parents. They can tell you all about it.

The research is clear, the long term return on investment in higher education, is less about credit and more about the experience/ the people/ the transformative moments (going abroad) and really the access..

I’ve always said the value of higher education is 10% classroom / 90% quad.

We believe this is where a student should put their money. Living aborad is the most transformative experience in education. Ask anyone who studied aborad. It will be the most valued experience. So put your dollars there. Credits will get cheaper. Leverage all of the free content and GO LIVE and leverage technology to do it.

Would you rather have your child possibly fail or send them to a place that invests and values mental health?

The data coming out of higher education is disturbing (to say the least). Universities are overwhelmed by the mental health issues on their campuses. They are first to admit their failure, but yet no plans to change it. Mental health concerns is now the second most common reasons students drop out of college (number one in high socio-economic classes).

At Sol House we believe much of the mental health issues happening on campus is due to lack of connection and students not having an adult to go to. We are committed to changing this narrative. Each Sol at Sol House gets 1:1 life coaching, an adult who is dedicated to their success.  In addition, our on campus curriculum is dedicated to mindfulness and giving students tools to identify stress and alleviate it through our programming and speaker series.

Would you rather find your people in the crowd or know that you are not in a crowd, but a family?

Colleges are first to share their statistics on their incredible diversity. Often boasting statistics that do impress, but the truth is that college communities are some of the most segregated communities in the United States. Students self-segregate. 

As Sol House is designed by data scientists, we are committed to limiting enrollment at every Sol House. It is human nature to break into smaller groups when confronted with large numbers. Especially when this is the first time someone is away from home, it is only natural they will seek those that look and speak like them. 

But the result is our youth is being incubated in a culture of “us” versus “them.” We are not surprised by the racial conflict in this country as we raise our youth in silos. At Sol House we will have true diversity. Diversity That no university has ever seen. Diversity in practice!

Would you rather get the degree or get the degree, self confidence, life purpose, life skills and critical thinking?

Sol House was founded and created by educators. Therefore, Sol House has its own on-site curriculum developed to fill the gaps that currently education does not address. Life Hacks which is taught every Sunday night teaches all the skills students will need for lifetime success from financial literacy,  basic contract law (they need to be able to read that first housing lease!), cyber security and more. 

However, the core of Sol House is our IMPACT CHALLENGE work. We are invested in created change makers and know that to do that, we need our students out there in the real world making impact. Utilizing local partnerships, students have internship opportunities to make a difference. Each House has a different impact lens, but all are designed to teach the 21st most critical skills for the new economy: Critical thinking, collaboration, data analytics, and communication. All impact challenge work is also group work as working with others is critical to development and not well addressed in online learning. 

We have a saying at Sol House- HEADS UP, NOT DOWN. SO much of education has our students with their heads down. Learning is an active process. This is now fact. Scientifically proven fact, but yet our universities still teach the same way. We learn from doing and that is exactly what Sols do in our impact challenge curriculum. They are out in the world meeting with local government leaders, pitching business concepts, ideating on local solutions for global problems. They are DOING it, not studying it.

Okay…

Sorry…

I have been wanting to tell you for a long time. And this is due to you, Nightwing. Thank you for helping me find my purpose.

More on that in next post.

Student of Life

Life is teaching you. Me. Us.

And I’ve had quite the two years of lessons.

I record them here.

There are no such things as coincidences. Nope. None. That can be hard to understand especially when those coincidences are negative like two rare cancers hitting a family in less than 6 months. But take this lesson seriously. When you have that moment “wow! That was weird” know that there was nothing weird about it. That was supposed to happen, but it is your choice to listen. Listen.

Everything should be expected. “To be expected” was a phrase that used to bring me to my knees. It was a favorite utterance at the hospital. To be expected is a just a catch all term to describe the truth of reality, that no one really knows. No one knows. Not your teacher. Not your mother. Not your doctor. No one really knows. And understanding that, is your first step to listening to who does.

Which leads me to the ultimate lesson one that was the hardest for me to understand as if there is one thing I am, its an excellent teacher. Proud of my knowledge of the brain, motivation, and mastery. Heck I am an educator. If anything I know, it is how to educate, but there is only one true educator, LIFE.

And its lessons will be right there when you need them. You may think they are TOO much. You may think they are TOO inconvenient, but that is not true. It is life saying STOP. Listen to this moment. Forget the rest.

And I’m going to spend the rest of my life helping others understand these lessons. That life is a ride and there is no course that will get you through it, but there are tools and most importantly, there is community.

There are Nightwings in every corner of this earth.

Welcome to the student of life movement.

Welcome to us finally putting as much effort into the human as to the studies.

And here is the REAL FACT that the value of education is not the credits, but the people, the network, and the opportunity to do. The opportunity to make/ explore, not study. 

This past year I’ve been living the creed.

I am a SOL, Student of Life. 

And now I help others find it too.

New York, come!

There is nothing I don’t love about New York. 

Let me be clear. 

This city is incredible. 

The best.

The GOAT (greatest of all time).

There is truly nothing like it and as someone who has been to 52 countries I feel semi equipped to say that.

I ❤️ New York

While very proud of my mid western roots, I do strongly believe that everyone should live at least one year in New York. It should be a rite of passage. You are not whole until you let New York beat you up. It beats up all of your “knowns.” It makes you question. It is the place to get lost to then be found.

Required I say. Required!

So I’m proud to be a New Yorker, but this year I will be sitting from the sidelines due to my job. I need to be close to my team that is based in Long Island.

I can’t believe I’m saying this. I am moving to Long Island for the year. (I just vomited a bit)

SO if you have not done your mandatory NYC living, this could be your moment as we are looking for someone to take our baby (our apartment) for a year. 

This is not easy. Especially because I LOVE our apartment which has been my home for 15 years. I have yet to have apartment envy as my apartment is uniquely New York. Nestled in Soho, it is pre-war with 16 ft ceilings and a real community. My neighbors are some of our closest friends. Truly special people. 

Therefore, I’m reaching out to my Nightwing Community first. We are renting our apartment and I want someone to love it. This is a DREAM Covid apartment. I can speak whole heartedly to this as I hunkered here for over a year. The apartment has a movie theater, gym, playroom, currently configured for 2 bedrooms (but can be three-four bedroom easily), outdoor space (with overhead heaters! We sit there all winter long), AND contactless entry (first floor, no elevator fears!). It is 4 floors too, so you can create space within it. There is no reason to ever leave and all the best food options deliver here. 

But what it really needs is KIDS. This apartment is perfect for a family. The boys’ room (which is boat themed, of course) has lofted full size beds, “offices” underneath and loads of play space. 

As you know this year we have collected a lot of stuff. Some of it from you! There are boxes and boxes of toys begging to be played with. In addition, we live next to the “key” park, a playground run by NYU for its faculty’s children and it’s awesome, but only available to people in the neighborhood. We have that key!

But PLEASE play with these toys someone!

Okay…Steve won’t let me share any more photos out of concern of a security risk so please send people my way if they are interested. 

But let them know there is one REAL condition (just one!).

One of our favorite things to do in this apartment is to cozy up outside and open a bottle of wine. While we talk we write down topics that we “google.” This blackboard wall has become our learning board. We hope you, future renter, can continue this ritual. 

We got it ready for you. I share this video of us washing away our board to make room for yours, because it makes me smile. Sometimes it is the little pleasures in life like power washing that make your day, lol. Steve just found his form of mediation!

 We will leave some chalk.

Looking for someone family to join our family and create incredible memories!

Dear Ruth

Found in drafts! Forgot to press publish.

Dear Ruth,

Thank you for your years of service. 

True service. 

A service that touched every woman not just in this country but around the world. Your death is a heavy loss.  You were our advocate. We knew that you had our backs. We knew that in a world of chaos we could count on your voice. And even when you were a sole dissident, you never sat quiet. No shrinking wallflower. No nodder along with the masses. You stood and instead of yelling or fighting, you used a gavel and the pen. And your legacy lives forever in our records. 

And to lose your voice on one of the holiest days…that was a tough one to swallow last night.The honey felt a bit bitter.

But like yourself, which I can only assume from your writings, you are also not a big believer in coincidences. You very much believed in cause and effect and fought hard to make sure that we tackled the cause and were quick to see the effects years before others.

So why would you lose your battle after so many battles on this holy night?

Rabbi I am not. I don’t know this answer, but this is how I was able to wake up this morning.

Your death on such a holy day is for us to remember.

I believe it is our time to carry you. For years we have let you lead. You have had the weight of so many people on your shoulders. Heck, you were notorious!  Not a day did you not show up from work. Even through battles and the death of your husband, there you were the day for court proceedings. 

You set a high bar.

But maybe that is the message.

In this New Year it is our turn. It is our turn to battle your legacy, to pay it forward.

We are behind you and now every new year when we sit down to eat, I will remember your message, new year, new commitments. That the sad truth, that Jews know so well, freedom is not a given. 

Walk in. Walk off.

We remain in awe of Jacob. He continues to walk in. He did so last week and will again this week. 

He walks in to walk it off.

We are in the FINAL phase of treatment. I can’t believe I’m even saying that. It took 16 months to get here, but it is so sweet. This phase is the vaccine trial that has had great results in preventing relapse. So thankful to be here.

When meeting with the doctor prior to the vaccine he went to great lengths to tell us that it is very painful. This was concerning as prior to immunotherapy he never gave such a warning and that was unbearable to watch. 

The vaccine is a shot of the immunotherapy drug. Unlike the immunotherapy sessions, it is quick, but patients do not get the high dose of pain meds like when in immunotherapy sessions. “It will be excruciating and then over, but don’t be shocked if he starts screaming.” 

We were given advice too. Best thing is to “walk it off.” Walk the pain off.  Now how do you tell a six year old writhing in pain to “walk it off?” It seemed unfathomable and I was ready for a disaster.

But that is exactly what he did. He walked it off.

“Go walk it off buddy” and in that pain he did just that.

When we told him the next week we were going in to do it again?

He walked in.

And then walked off.

We will continue to do this walk for the next year. 

Jacob, per usual, will lead.

The gag

I’ve been gagged. My writing has been gagged. It’s been so hard!!!

Gagged Woman High Resolution Stock Photography and Images - Alamy

You see…

I’ve had a secret now for over a month and every time I write I want to write about it, but I can’t. Not yet…that it is.

BUT it’s good. SO GOOD. I get excited thinking about it. So hard not to write about it. 

But I can say this…remember that rewrite of education I’ve been speaking about for the past two years?! It’s happening! 

The future looks bright for our little ones. There is another path! A path that values the personal journey and recognizes that LIFE IS THE ULTIMATE TEACHER. 

Very proud of these last months. I hope to be able to write more soon!

But I do want to share one learning. The best remedy to trauma is finding light in the trauma and then acting on it. Action I’ve found is the ultimate medicine.

Q2: Is there something that you wish you had done differently this past year? Alternatively, is there something you’re especially proud of from this past year?

I no longer spend my days thinking what you may possibly think of me. I have evolved this year in ways I never knew possible.

I’m proud of this growth. I’m proud to give my self the gift of forgiveness. The gift of YESTERDAY. The gift of letting go, but learning at the same time. Embracing the evolution of others and myself.

Q1: Describe a significant experience that has happened in the past year. How did it affect you? Are you grateful? Relieved? Resentful? Inspired?

This last year had only one event, Jacob’s fight with cancer.

How did it affect me? It made me question everything I’ve ever known. Even the “knowns” like the sky is up and the floor is down felt questionable. Right versus wrong felt uncertain. Even my own identity I was unclear about.


Was I good? Was I being punished? Is the world a good place? Did I even want to be in it?

I went inwards. I went walking. I went to the river. I listened to music.

But mainly I observed.

I saw the world in a new light. I watched it run by me. And even though I walked it felt like I was stagnant. It was really an out of body experience. At first it looked like pure chaos. I felt sad for humanity. Just all these people in their worlds with no rhyme or reason. Running with frowns. And at first I thought that was the lesson, that there is no meaning and my search for the WHY (why all these things happen) was a fruitless pursuit that would only bring confusion and pain.

But one thing I had was time. Lots of time. Sitting. Sitting. Sitting by beds. Sitting with books.

So I sat.

And I saw something. I saw a thread. I saw patterns. I saw some order in the chaos. I wish I could say I hold that understanding now in every step, but that would be a lie. I fight for that understanding each and every day.

Especially when the world feels so fragile and “tribed” off.

But I oddly leave this year of trauma with incredible inspiration. I also leave in debt to the world and the pattern that truly do exist. The reality that there are no coincidences. The reality that things happen because they have meaning for you, but that meaning may only present itself 10 years down the road. But the WHY does exist. It is up to us to connect the dots.

I feel inspired. I feel alive. I feel unbelievably grateful.

And my path led to remission of Jacob. A gift like no other. And it led me to today. To PAY IT FORWARD.

Inspired for tomorrow.