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TikTok’s 5-9 trend: is it realistic whilst being a student?

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Nottingham chapter.

Everyone knows what a 9 to 5 is thanks to Dolly Parton, but thanks to TikTok I now know about the 5 to 9.

But first, what is a 5 to 9?
All in all, it is the gap between the end of your working day and the start of your next working day, the literal things you do between the hours 5-9 before or after work. The basis of these videos that are scattered all over my timeline from my TikTok For You Page and my Instagram Reels is productivity. How productive can you be outside of already productive working hours?

The videos normally begin with someone blissfully waking up looking all idyllic. Then they go to the gym with a protein shake to hand. Then they come home and make a boujee breakfast with expensive ingredients whilst journaling their thoughts. Then they shower and get ready looking all nice and stress-free. This is all done before they head off to their 9 to 5 job… exhausting, I know.

If you’re familiar with this 5-9 concept, you’ve probably sat there and either related or not related to the content in front of you. As I love being nosey, I have watched quite a few videos surrounding the 5-9, and they don’t really seem to be students.

However, why would being a student make it harder to have a 5 to 9 than being in an ‘adult job’? Singlehandedly, our everyday life varies, and each day is literally never the same. We do have the reliability of a working week, yes, but, with hindrances out of our control how do you suggest we stay on track? The simple fact is that some days you have a lecture at 9 am and then on another day your first one is at 4 pm, so when you finally arrive home, the productive time that you may have set for yourself might be unrealistic. Another reason is the drinking or ‘going out’ socials for societies you’re in can take place at any time of the week…so weekdays aren’t even safe to try and get some routine. There are even more factoring elements than these, but these are the most significant in my opinion.

So… you might be thinking what does mine look like? Well, that’s the thing, I could tell you what my 5 to 9 looked like today, but it won’t be the same tomorrow, or the day after, or the day after that…you get the point. I think the thought of having a routine after a day of being busy sounds great, but who wants to do the same thing over and over again? We aren’t living in the film ‘Groundhog Day’, we are real people with social lives, bad days, and unexpected plans. We have to remember that the videos we see on the internet (especially TikTok) are just the glorified days; no one would be able to just wake up and make that video, people plan and organise the content they make so in more ways than others it is not reality. It is all for show.

Everyone’s days look different, and everyone’s days are different. There is no blueprint for the perfect day despite what you see on social media or what you see your friends doing. Everyone works differently as not everyone is a carbon copy of one another. There should be no pressure about how productive you should be after a day of Uni, that’s your time to relax and chill–so relax and chill…And stop thinking about what everyone else thinks!

Isabella Ansell

Nottingham '23

Third year Film and TV student at UoN, and a Reviewer for Her Campus. I love my coffee machine and my dog <3