Art by Lily Chesnut
A few weeks ago, in the midst of working on school projects and discussion posts, I was overcome with an anxious feeling and didn’t understand why. Earlier during the week I was able to accomplish a multitude of things and manage my time wisely. Now I couldn’t shake the feeling that time was fleeting and I should be accomplishing more.
That’s where hustle culture comes into play.
Runrun.it defines hustle culture as “constant working. It means devoting as much of your day as possible working — hustling. There is no time out or time in at work. Work is done in the office, outside the office, at home, at coffee shops — anywhere.”
“I have fallen victim into hustle culture more times than I can count,” said Cartersvile student Aaron Nguyen, “I used to be a huge workaholic back in my high school days, staying up until 3 to 4 a.m. just trying to get projects and assignments done, trying to obtain grades no lower than a B.”
Nguyen said, “I see kids who are among the top 1 percent of their class, being accepted into schools like Tech and UGA, it would make [me] feel so anxious and disappointed, knowing I could’ve been there if I had tried harder. Even with all the success I had, I still felt like a failure.”
Seeing influencers succeed at a young age and in a short amount of time, such as Kylie Jenner with a makeup empire at 23, or Emma Chamberlin becoming a coffee connoisseur at 19, can make you feel as if you’re losing the race called life.
As a person who participates in this lifestyle, I am extremely critical of how I spend my time. If I’m not filling in the small gaps of my day with activities to keep preoccupied, I am actively working to achieve my goals without a break. I become hypercritical and compare myself to my peers, weighing their accomplishments against mine. This results in me feeling burnt out and frustrated.
“Luckily,” said Nguyen, “I’ve done better, however, in being able to give myself more breaks and more chances to pat myself on the back for my accomplishments.”
You don’t need to accomplish something grand to be worth something, at this point in time. You don’t need a calendar filled to the brim with tasks in order to feel accomplished. As much as it might feel like it, you’re not behind. it’s okay to take your time and to let yourself enjoy the path you’re taking to get where you want to be.