3 Reasons Why You Should Ditch Hustle Culture – and 3 Ways to Do So


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“Rise and grind.” “Go hard or go home.” “Good things come to those who hustle.” From coffee mugs to sweatshirts and social media posts, you’ve likely seen these and many other quotes surrounding a modern phenomenon called, “the hustle.” The hustle isn’t necessarily anything fun, like the latest dance craze – instead, the hustle refers to a glamorized image, where one purposefully devotes as much time as possible to the work aspect of their life.

Considering that Gen-Zers and Millennials are highly educated and career-motivated, we totally understand the allure of hustle culture. As a go-getting college student with unlimited potential, it’s certainly not uncommon to proclaim your dedication to 24/7 grinding, especially if you’ve got a full-time class schedule, part-time job, and virtual extracurriculars in the mix.

Let’s face it, if you are a hard-working student who wants to go far in life, it doesn’t take much to get overloaded on your journey to reach your goals. Though it may seem innocent enough, hustle culture is far from healthy. In fact, there are many reasons why the hustle movement is damaging young people’s sense of self. Here are 3 reasons why you should ditch hustle culture ASAP – and some suggestions as to what to do with your time instead.

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Reason #1: Hustle culture leads to serious burnout.

To make it in the real world, you’ll certainly have to be willing to commit to regularly scheduled workweeks. However, working around the clock or always being “on” is not natural to us as human beings, nor is it beneficial to our mental or physical health. The truth is, hustling so hard that you can never truly relax will certainly lead to burnout, an ugly condition that will cause you lose interest in hobbies, experience sleep problems, and even lead you to fall ill – something we’re all trying to avoid right now! Needless to say, burnout is very real, and you want to avoid it at all costs.

Instead, prioritize stress relief and self-care.

Sure, you could say that “self-care” is as much of a buzzword these days as “hustle culture.” Yet, no matter how trendy the word may be, taking care of oneself will truly never go out of style. Remind yourself that, even when assignments feel out of control or you’re facing pressure to work longer hours at your part-time job, it’s important to balance both work and play. So, if you feel as though your college obligations are putting your health at risk, hustle culture may be to blame. Luckily, stepping away from your stressors increases productivity, while recharging your mind and revitalizing your body. The next time you’re on the brink of losing it, schedule a bit of time away, even if it’s just for an afternoon. Once you jump back into your work, you’ll definitely perform better than before.

Reason #2: Hustle culture mirrors fantasy, not reality.

You know those Instagram influencers, who appear to have the perfect post-grad career and are already making big moves? Or, those high school friends of yore, who post photos of themselves doing it all, from juggling a full calendar of extra-curriculars to maintaining a 4.0 GPA? We know Halloween is over, but beware – the insidious effects of hustle culture lurk here, leading you to believe that you, too, must live up to these expectations. Just remember that you’ll never truly know if that influencer’s day job is as glamorous as it seems, or if your former friend is experiencing a personal obstacle on top of all the good news that they post. You’ll only see the highlight reel of their lives online, and it’s not always as glamorous as it seems behind the curtain of reality.

Instead, focus on your offline life and your own goals.

It’s way too easy to get swept up in social media feeds, particularly when it comes to the profiles of other young adults who seemingly “have it all.” Though it may sound cheesy, the best remedy here is to shift your attention to your offline life, including your personal aspirations and relationships. Maybe, your career goals are way different than those of your favorite Instagram celebrity, or even your fraternity brothers here on-campus. That’s okay! Staying true to your yourself – not the life you share with others online – will make you happy and fulfilled, which way more important…even if it doesn’t involve hustling 24/7.

Reason #3: Hustle culture prioritizes quantity over quality.

If you consider yourself a dedicated student, then you know just how important it is that your work is correct, concise, and generally of high quality. Unfortunately, when you’re all about that hustle culture, you’re likely not producing your best work. Instead, you’re spitting out as many tasks as possible, with less regard for each one individually. You may even be so anxiety-ridden or exhausted that you don’t have the mental capacity to perform your best work, even when it comes to your favorite subjects. You aren’t alone in this struggle, as hustle culture has a knack for making you think that your not-so-best is good enough since productivity is king!

Instead, allow yourself time to thoughtfully complete tasks.

Want to make sure your assignments are exceeding expectations? Two words: slow down! Simply giving yourself the time necessary to adequately complete your tasks and double check your work before emailing your professor will make a world of difference to your mental health, in addition to your grade ahead of final exams. Planning ahead is your friend, so you need to structure your schedule in ways that will allow you ample time to get everything done – no rushing required. You can even enlist the help of study apps to make scheduling and completing assignments more convenient!

Many victims of hustle culture feel as though if they stop working around the clock, they’ll disappoint their professors, employers, or even friends and loved ones. However, your pals at uCribs know this is simply not true. We encourage you to consider breaking up with the so-called “hustle” for good. Whether it’s damaging your mental health to holding you to an unrealistic expectation, we believe that the downsides to hustle culture are reasonable enough to leave it behind for good.

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Amelia Woolard is a graduate of Millsaps College, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Communications Studies and an Art History minor. A native of Jackson, Mississippi, Amelia moved to New Orleans in 2014 to begin her career in marketing and design. She is particularly interested in the intersection of art and language, and enjoys projects that merge the two fields. Amelia is an avid yet critical pop culture consumer and a loving mother to her cat Faulkner.

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