Hustle culture is a motivational movement which urges society to work harder, stronger, and faster. The idea is that if someone works really hard, they will see success and can achieve anything they put their mind to. In recent years social media influencers have pushed this mindset on their platforms with rags to riches stories and inspirational quotes.
Influencers pretend to be adding value to other people’s lives by ‘inspiring’ and ‘motivating’ others to reach for their dreams, in reality the marketing is deceptive.
Due to the popularity of hustle culture rising, most college students have become attached to this lifestyle. It leads people to believe that the negative aspects which are brought on by hustle culture are normal. They are not.
Americans specifically embrace this culture and take it to a new level. According to ABC News, evidence that Americans are overstressed and overworked is present in the increased amount of road rage, workplace shootings, the rising number of day care and the increasing demand on schools to provide after-school activities to occupy kids whose parents are too busy. Americans work longer hours, have shorter vacations, get less employment, disability, and retirement benefits. Americans are also retiring later then workers in comparably rich societies. Americans have created this idea that the meaning of life can be found in work. We are literally working ourselves to death. Personally, I think that is bullshit.
The hustle culture needs to die. The pressure that this mindset puts onto students specifically, does more harm than good. Being obsessed with work is extremely toxic. It leads students to be over caffeinated, sleep-deprived, depressed, and anxious. I have heard the phrase, ‘the grind never stops’ over and over from students and influencers, but in reality it should stop at some level because students need rest. Our mental health depends on rejecting this culture.
As a college student myself I understand the pressure to do the most to put yourself out there and get as many experiences as you possibly can in a short time before you start your career. I have also personally experienced the anxiety and burnout that comes with doing this. I have had nights where I break down and cry from the workload I have brought onto myself.
I have always considered myself someone who can do many things at once. In high school I played five sports and had a job. Now I write for this paper, I deliver pizza three days a week, I’m the Vice President of the rugby club, I have a side hustle doing custom paintings and I’m a full-time student. However, I still find time to hit the bar every weekend and socialize.
The reason I can handle doing multiple things is because I rejected the hustle culture. I am 21 years old. I am not worried right now about being rich, being a CEO or being a YouTube star, I just want to have fun and be mentally present. I have learned to say no and set boundaries on the number of tasks I can take on.
My parents have always maintained a healthy work life balance and my goal is to be exactly like them when I have my own career. My mom is a retired teacher, so she had breaks off regardless, but my dad made sure to also be very present in my sister and I’s lives even with a full-time job. We went on vacations yearly as a family and he never brought work with him. They made a point to attend every single event my sister and I were involved in. Watching this as I have grown up has taught me that work is not the number on priority. Taking breaks does not make me a bad person. It is productive and needed as a human being.