The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
I am a burned-out college student. I know I am not alone. The majority of college students are burned-out and exhausted, yet so many of us continue to pursue opportunities and sign ourselves up for more endeavors, activities, and commitments. Why do we keep doing this to ourselves? The answer is simple: we are all buying into hustle culture and its toxicity.
First, let’s define what hustle culture is. Hustle culture is the idea that one should put work above oneself and always strive to be doing the most. One believes that by prioritizing work, this is how one will gain respect. This sounds like a terrible idea for so many reasons.
Flashback to March 2020, it’s the start of COVID-19. Schools are completely online, and majority of offices are forced to go remote. People are overwhelmed with a new amount of free time. For many people, including myself, this was the freest time we’ve had in a while. For the next few months, we focused on ourselves, spent time with family, started new habits and routines, and spent time enjoying nature, relaxing, and being more aware of ourselves. We also definitely filled in the time with baking and trying TikTok trends. But this was a waking point for a lot of people, myself included: take time for yourself.
Flashback to today. I work four jobs on campus, I am taking 19 credits, I am in a sorority and various clubs, and I am pursuing leadership opportunities on campus. I’m stressed out, I’m tired more often than not, I lack free time, and I frequently spend my weeks looking forward to the weekend, which is still busy but slightly freer. Yet, I still feel like I am not doing enough. I need to do more, find more things to put on my resume, explore more opportunities, take on more challenges, and hustle even more. This is such a common phenomenon throughout our society today.
The issue here is we all seem to have forgotten the lesson we learned from quarantine last year. We seem to have forgotten to take some time for ourselves, to relax and recharge, and to refocus on ourselves and who we are. Hustle culture’s fatal flaw is that individuals don’t prioritize and focus on themselves enough. You can only go so long without taking a break before you break. Hustle culture has a focus on our pockets, our experiences, and the respect we receive from others, but it’s missing a focus on our mental health, our relaxation, and our happiness. It is only encouraging people to forgo these focuses and that you don’t really need them. One can’t be successful if they are too burned out to continue working and going.
Don’t get me wrong, I think we should pursue all the opportunities that we can, chase after our dreams, and follow our ambitions. This is in no way hate to those who hustle, I admire all that they do and am in awe of their dedication. But we should not be chasing these opportunities at the cost of ourselves. You are the most important thing you have, and you need to take care of yourself. We all do. That is the key aspect that hustle culture is missing.
Self-care is important. Find the things in life that help you care and love yourself. Find some time in that busy schedule to make time for you. And don’t hustle too much in the process.