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And now it’s time to introduce my lovely, I-would-die-without-them classmates. Introducing Madelaine Manson, aka Total Badass.

Madelaine Manson is always brimming with surprises. Even though she has this no-nonsense, don’t-mess-with-me attitude, she is one of the most soft-spoken, fun and easy to talk to people from our class. Not to mention a total badass at things she is in-charge of and goes overboard (in a very, very good way) with things she is passionate about. So if you hardly see her sharing stuff on social media, then it’s probably because you would have better luck at getting to know her, face-to-face, any time of the day.

Q1. Has there been a thing in life that you thought you would never do, but ended up doing it anyway?
I never thought I’d travel the world solo, but in May of 2016, I boarded a flight to London, England, with plans to backpack through Europe for over a month. It was the most incredible experience of my life, and I wouldn’t hesitate to encourage others to travel solo if they ever get the chance. From Ireland, Switzerland and France to Italy, Spain and more (it sounds surreal as I’m typing it now!), I met so many amazing friends from all over the world, saw the most spectacular sights, gained confidence in my ability to handle whatever life throws at me, and had so much fun.

Another thing that I haven’t exactly done yet but I’m surprised by my desire to do so in the future is to pursue an entrepreneurial goal. As I’ve gotten older and gained a clearer sense of my strengths and weaknesses, I’m feeling pulled towards pursuing a “side hustle” and putting consistent time and effort into growing an idea into a viable business. I absolutely love the notion of having full control over every detail that leads to the ultimate success (or failure) of a businesses venture, and someday not having to rely on anybody else to provide me with an income. I never thought I’d be the kind of person to have an entrepreneurial spirit, but I’m so excited about pursuing this passion further. Now to come up with an idea…

Q2. Describe your family in five words? 
This is such a hard one! Ok… five words to describe the fam:
1. Loving
2. Supportive
3. Inquisitive
4. Funny
5. Complicated

I’m super close with my older sister, and only sibling, Stephanie. We’re 2 ½ years apart, and we’ve always had a tight bond. Since leaving home, we’ve lived in different cities several hours apart for school and job opportunities, but we’ve been able to maintain a close relationship into our adult years which I’m really grateful for! No one understands you quite like your sibling. I grew up in a suburban area in the south end of Mississauga just outside of Toronto, and it was a really great place to grow up. We had a big yard to run around in, lived right beside a park with a playground, schools and friends houses were all within walking distance and Lake Ontario was right up the street.

Like most families, we’ve faced our fair share of conflict and challenges, but overall I was raised in an incredibly loving and compassionate home that instilled in me many of the values that shape my perspective on life, relationships and work as an adult. One of my favorite memories from childhood was in the autumn time when our yard would be completely covered with leaves. While raking them up, my dad would drag me and my sister up the driveway on a big tarp, laughing hysterically, and dump us out onto the growing pile of leaves on the curb. We got a real kick out of it. I have such fond memories of my childhood and looking back, I am so grateful for the hard work and sacrifices my parents made to provide us with that kind of life.

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Q3. The best piece of advice you recently received?

Follow the one-minute-rule: if it can be done in under a minute, do it now.

Whether it’s responding to an email or putting a dish in the dishwasher, I love this “rule” to stay on top of things day-to-day!

Q4. A skill or talent you secretly wish you had?
I would love to be able to speak another language other than English. If I could go back in time, I would definitely take advantage of the opportunity to learn French and Spanish in high school. Unfortunately, my teenage-self didn’t appreciate the opportunity at the time, I hope to pursue it in the future!

Q5. Little known fact about you?
I got into grad school at NYU—and I turned it down. Ultimately, making the decision not to go was logical—too much money and too much risk. I’m a hyper-practical person, and I wasn’t willing to take on the astronomical amount of debt when there was no guarantee of a steady income upon graduation. Mentally, it would’ve broken me. With that said, the other side of my brain was screaming, “When you get into NYU, you just go! You’ll figure out the rest later!”

Rejecting the offer was one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever made, and I often think about an alternate universe in which I enrolled at NYU, moved to New York, and lived a much bigger life. I wonder what my life would’ve looked like, who my friends would’ve been, and where I would’ve ended up. All these months later, I’m happy with the decision I made. I’m a firm believer that everything unravels the way it’s supposed to when you work hard and follow your intuition. On a lighter note, my parents are both twins (they each have fraternal twin sisters), which is kind of cool!

Author: AD

Born and raised in India, Anisha Dhiman moved to Toronto to study Publishing and then Lifestyle Media at Centennial College. Writer, social media strategist and content creator, Anisha is the founder of Five Question Series, where she profiles people… you guessed it, by asking five questions. In her free time, she enjoys reading and trolling people with puppy GIFs and memes. Her only phobia? Losing her sight, but staring at the screen all day long doesn’t help much.

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February 15, 2017

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