Hustle Culture is Problematic


Recently, young adults and millenials in our society have become infatuated with hustle culture. ForbesWomen contributor Celinne Da Costa describes this phenomenon as “the collective urge we currently seem to feel as a society to work harder, stronger, faster. To grind and exert ourselves at our maximum capacity, every day, and accomplish our goals and dreams at a lightning speed that matches the digital world we’ve built around ourselves.”   

(Photo courtesy of Celinne Da Costa) 

Although this obsession that many people have with constantly hustling non-stop is inspirational, it is also quite toxic. As someone who has been influenced by hustle culture, I realized how detrimental this mindset can be. However, the constant grind attitude is not something one can simply ignore or escape from - especially when one is surrounded by it in their daily environment. 

The University of Virginia is a wonderful school; the scenery is impeccable, the night life is great, and the students are highly ambitious and hardworking. However, the latter point also has its faults. I believe this holds true for colleges everywhere and not just UVA, but students here are almost always stressed. Many first years enter their fall semester already worried about their major and future career, and I was definitely one of them. I was terrified about getting into my major (and frankly still am). Additionally, seeing all my peers worry about internships and academic extracurriculars so early on in the year made me feel like I had to be thinking about those things too. I literally made “hustle” my word of the year to motivate myself to work harder in order to accomplish my goals. Now that we are nine months into the year, I can honestly say that this mindset has been draining and anxiety inducing. I overbooked myself so much throughout the year in terms of academics and extracurriculars that I often felt like I had no time to breathe or relax. I know that this is a common feeling among my peers as well; so many students have their Google calendars filled from the moment they wake up to the movement they go to bed. 

(Photo courtesy of Pixabay) 

They attend class, volunteer, work, participate in clubs, exercise, go out, and the list continues on. The worst part is that people like to flex how busy they are as evidence of their accomplishments . This tendency to try and be as productive as possible during the day is exhausting and has led to many mental breakdowns, in all honesty. I often felt burnt out by the end of the day.

Hustle culture is problematic because it glorifies workaholism and demolishes the idea of living a healthy balanced life.  Hardwork and determination are the keys to success, but it is okay to relax as well. I think hustling to a certain extent is fine, but we should never prioritize it over our mental health. I have seen so many motivational quotes about hustling, but I have never seen one about staying healthy. Another saying should be: “stay healthy and hustle hard.” 

(Photo courtesy of Shirley Chu)