You’ll always have critics
Much of the advice that I’ve gotten about my post-graduation plans — especially from people older than me — has been negative. Now by “negative,” I don’t mean insulting or harmful. I mean negative as in saying “Don’t do this” rather than “Do this.”
For example: “Don’t go to graduate school.” “Don’t go to film school.” “Don’t apply for an internship.” “Don’t join this service program.” “Don’t enter the workforce straight after graduating.” And so on…
What I’ve come to realize is that any choice you could make will have its naysayers. So if you choose not to do something just because there’s an opinion out there against it, you’ll never do anything.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t listen to people who give you such advice. But you should evaluate who these people are and what qualifies them to advise you. Are they basing their judgment on their own experiences? On someone else’s experiences? On the news?
You should also realize that your advisers are not you and will never be in your exact situation. The differences between you and them might make you succeed where they failed. So just because a particular course of action didn’t work for one person — or even for a bunch of people — doesn’t mean that it won’t work for you.
If you believe the advice you’ve gotten has merit, that doesn’t always mean you should abandon your plans completely. You need to weigh out the cons with the pros, like in any decision. You could also turn negative advice into positive advice; if somebody tells you not to do something, ask them what you should do instead.
But no matter what you choose to do, you’ll always have critics. And those critics might be right; you could fail. At this age, though, is failure really so bad? If you spend time and money on something that doesn’t work, you’ll have decades to reestablish your career and your credit.
If you fail, at least you’ve done something. You made a decision, you took action, and you didn’t let the fear of failure stop you. The truth is that, no matter how much advice you get, you will never know how something turns out unless you try.
So get out there and do something. Maybe you’ll surprise your critics. Maybe you’ll even surprise yourself.