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Hall: Embracing Balance and Rejecting the Hustle Culture Hype

In order to embrace balance, students must learn to reject hustle culture — something often pushed upon us by universities and colleges.
Mary Allen
(Design by Mary Allen | The Daily Utah Chronicle)


In a world where hustle culture continually extols the virtues of non-stop work and relentless ambition, it’s essential to question it. Does embracing balance represent a vital countermeasure to this hype, or are we merely pursuing an elusive ideal? By delving into the imperative of embracing balance in our lives, we can challenge the prevailing narrative that glorifies the grind — often at the expense of well-being and relationships.

As University of Utah students, we must challenge the pervasive ‘hustle culture’ narrative and embrace the importance of balance in our pursuit of happiness.

What is Hustle Culture?

Modern society glorifies hustle culture, which promotes the relentless pursuit of productivity, success and ambition. Unfortunately, this is often at the expense of personal well-being and overall happiness. Hustle culture encourages excessive 24/7 work hours, leaving little room for rest or recuperation. By placing a premium on multitasking and efficiency, downtime is viewed as unproductive. The culture places a strong emphasis on showcasing one’s achievements, typically through social media. People present curated versions of their lives, highlighting accomplishments and material possessions to gain validation and admiration.

The dark side of hustle culture reveals the potential for burnout, chronic stress and adverse health effects. Neglecting physical and mental well-being can have long-term consequences. Moreover, the relentless pursuit often associated with hustle culture strains personal relationships and hinders opportunities for personal growth. While hustle culture may motivate some to achieve impressive goals, it’s essential to recognize its limitations and potential downsides.

We must acknowledge that neglecting physical and mental health can also affect one’s professional life. To achieve sustainable success and overall happiness, one must strike a crucial balance between ambitions and self-care. Recognize the importance of taking breaks and having occasional off days to recharge.

How Does it Affect Students?

College institutions may inadvertently fuel this culture through various means. Colleges often foster competitive environments by ranking students and emphasizing grades, which pushes students to prioritize success at any cost. Encouraging involvement in numerous extracurricular activities, internships and part-time jobs can overload students. This also perpetuates the belief that busyness equates to success. Universities may lead students to believe that their worth is tied to their professional accomplishments — by placing undue emphasis on securing prestigious internships and job placements.

Inadequate mental health resources and support can contribute to students feeling like they must push through difficulties on their own. These feelings reinforce the “tough it out” mentality of hustle culture. To address these issues, colleges and universities must recognize the negative impact of hustle culture on students’ well-being and academic performance. We must prioritize mental health resources and promote a balanced approach to learning and life. This will, in turn, create college environments that foster personal growth rather than perpetual competition.

How to Work Hard Without Burning Out

Maintaining a strong work ethic while preserving mental and physical well-being is crucial for college students — and anyone striving for success in their endeavors. Make self-care a non-negotiable part of your routine. This includes getting adequate sleep, eating healthy, exercising regularly and setting aside time for relaxation and hobbies. A well-rested, healthy body and mind will better equip college students to handle daily challenges.

The next step is to periodically evaluate your workload and priorities. Nolan Dennehy, a business major at the U, said, “it’s about routines, like waking up [and] doing the same thing every day.” Adjust your schedule and commitments as needed to maintain balance and prevent overexertion.

Admiring hard work and goal achievement is important, but it should never come at the expense of your well-being.

“I don’t set hard expectations on myself in that aspect,” Dennehy said.

Incorporating these strategies into your daily routine will help you maintain a strong work ethic. Simultaneously, you’ll safeguard your physical and mental health, ensuring long-term success and fulfillment.

Embracing Balance

College students navigating today’s fast-paced world must embrace balance and reject the relentless hustle culture. It is simply essential for their well-being. Making physical and mental health a top priority holds the key to achieving this equilibrium. Establish clear boundaries for work, study and personal time. Challenge the conventional notions of success, and understand that success isn’t solely defined by career achievements or external validation. Consider personal growth, happiness and meaningful relationships as equally important measures of success.

In the prevailing hustle culture, embracing balance demands intentional effort and a commitment to your own well-being. Rejecting the hype means recognizing that sustainable success and happiness can coexist. It involves valuing rest, relationships and personal growth alongside career aspirations. Rejecting hustle culture allows one to commit to living a life that thrives not only in the realm of work but also in the broader spectrum of human experiences.


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About the Contributors
Lexi Hall, Opinion Writer
(she/her) Lexi is double majoring in English and Communications with an emphasis in Journalism at the University of Utah. She is from Las Vegas, Nevada, and came to Salt Lake City because she loves the outdoors. Lexi spends most of her time reading books and going to concerts with friends. She hopes one day to become an English Professor and a Journalist.
Mary Allen, Design Director
(she/her) Born and raised in Salt Lake City, Mary is thrilled to be here at the University of Utah studying graphic design. She feels very lucky to get to rub shoulders with the talented people that make up the team here at the Chronicle and is learning a lot from them every day. Other than making things look cute, Mary’s passions include music, pickleball, Diet Coke, wildlife protection, and the Boston Red Sox.

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