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Depleting my Self-Worth for Hustle Culture 

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Carleton chapter.

Everyone wants to secure the bag. Our generation is pleading with frustration to run away from the formalities of inflation. Many hit us at home, after the financial crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving many individuals jobless. As a result, at the beginning of the year, numerous professors repeated the strategy for success. You are informed of the following as an undergraduate student:

  1. A high GPA brings in more growth opportunities. Study hard. Stay focused.
  2. Student debt is typical. Try not to let it rack up. Maybe work part-time during your full-time course load. 
  3. Experience. Experience. Experience. Even with a degree, you aren’t guaranteed a job after graduation.

The last one scares me. Growing up in a home where my parents did not attend post-secondary education institutions, I personally witnessed the influence this had on me. We lived within our means and tried our best to make it. My mom’s one goal for me was to get educated and avoid making the same mistakes she did.

When I started my undergrad, I was desperate for success. I worked 30-plus hours per week at my part-time job while completing a full course load and participating in community boards/extracurricular activities: all to gain the necessary experience. There was never a moment in the day when I didn’t have the urge to accomplish something productive. The off switch in my mind was unwilling to turn off until I walked across the stage with a secure contract signed and ready. It was tough, both mentally and physically. But I kept going and going. Through time, it went from one part-time job to two. Trying to push myself to the limits because every self-help book I’ve read says you should. By this time, I was far beyond this point. I was essentially burnt out. 

I kept finding the drive, yet my incentive stemmed from concern rather than achievement. This is a familiar story amongst most students. University does not guarantee financial abundance or financial security. Hard work does. So, is chasing the bag really worth it? 

From first-hand experience, that worry is still the motivation behind my overachieving mindset. My friends describe me as a “girl boss.” It makes me laugh. “You work all the time, turn in every project on time, and are always hunting for internship or publication opportunities,” they say. After hearing that from one of my close friends, I questioned whether I was taking hustle culture too far.

The correct answer is yes. But many future job recruiters would say no. Many students feel burnt out over time; they neglect their self-worth by concentrating all their attention on the next opportunity. I recognized that if I kept going at my current rate, I would be out of commission by the time I was hired by my desired employer. I’d be sorry for all the times I couldn’t stop to reflect. Instead of worrying about what will happen next in my life, I am missing so many opportunities to embrace the people and excitement around me.

Hustling your way through life will only break you down. Consider rethinking your strategies if you are feeling unhappy. Remember, you will only be in your early twenties once.

Mehak Aly

Carleton '24

Mehak (Ma- Heck) is a third year student at Carleton University, studying Communications and Professional Writing. She uses storytelling to navigate her fears and bestow her thoughts to others, hoping to provide readers with self-reflection and encouragement.