Photo: Mandi Woodruff/Business Insider
Name: Mandi WoodruffAge: 25
Hometown: Locust Grove, Ga.
Alma Mater: University of Georgia
Who got it?
A student a whole year behind me who was also a good friend. That kind of sucked.
I returned to the states right before Christmas with $16 to my name and no friggin' idea what to do with myself.
I enjoyed it just about as much as this dude >
1. I did not freak out.
2. I found time to volunteer and network--the natural way.
3. I didn't drive myself insane applying for every job under the sun.
4. I never stopped writing.
It was a dead end from the start.
I watched my friends slowly leave media and enter into advertising, PR, publishing, and leave the city altogether in some cases.
Someone from Reader's Digest certainly had -- THREE years after I'd interned there.
Apart from the fact that my own finances were basically in shambles...
To tune out the naysayers--and that includes the media!
To never settle for less than what I've earned
That this is the only time in my life I can screw up as much as I want and get away with it--for the most part
The best path is usually the one that scares the hell out of you