MFirst things first: I’m not the most diligent student. When my fellow students make the pilgrimage to the library like busy ants during the exam phase at eight o’clock, I sleep until eleven. If there are voluntary additional texts in seminars, I don’t read them. And I’ve always made full use of the two missing hours in seminars that we are always entitled to due to illness – and went for coffee instead. Now it is out. I fit the cliché of the lazy student. And: I love it!
I find the so-called hustle culture all the more strange, which is spreading more and more in the universities and apparently ensures that every lazy lazybones, no matter how lazy, is pushed into the libraries. But what kind of new culture is that supposed to be? If you google “Hustle Culture” you will first find numerous synonyms: Burnout Culture, Workaholism or Toxic Productivity are the most common. Hustle culture also means that you subordinate everything else to your career and certain goals and work beyond the physical limits. Free time, a social environment, or relaxation don’t seem to have a place alongside all the hustling.
It gets particularly exciting when you search for the hashtag Hustle Culture on social media. There I came across numerous videos of young students who find and document this lifestyle absolutely worth striving for. Get up at five o’clock, go for a quick jog, then drink a cucumber and spinach smoothie and then be at the university at eight to study until the end of the day. Sounds like just a nightmare. And unhealthy at that. After all, what’s the point of getting good grades in the final exams but dragging yourself off the campus on the verge of a nervous breakdown? A smoothie, no matter how green, can no longer compensate for this.
Chocolate croissant and reading in bed
What I find even more frightening is the rat’s tail that hangs on this mediated way of life. Because what this culture teaches above all is that students are only worth something if they study to the point of exhaustion. According to this logic, everyone else who occasionally drinks a beer too many, although they have lectures the next day or even take time for friends and free time, are failures who will never achieve anything in life. And I, who sometimes watch lectures in bed, munching on a chocolate croissant, am therefore the queen of losers.
When I thought there was no hope left for us young students, I also came across some critical voices about the hustle culture on social media. Here it was emphasized that there should be a healthy balance between learning and relaxation. After all, your own health is the starting point for learning sessions or morning jogs. So the motto is: “Health before hustle”. I can sign that. Other contributors noted that, as much as people might want to hustle, they can only be productive for four to six hours at a time anyway. So studying twelve or more hours a day is simply illusory and superfluous. And there’s probably a reason why a Tiktok video about the term “Quiet Quitting” went viral a few weeks ago.
Since when are we all such incredible nerds?
But what I ask myself above all is: When did working and learning capacities become an absolutely desirable, integral part of a student’s personality? Can’t we think of anything better than defining ourselves by the hours we spend in libraries or in the stuffy offices of our student jobs? What happened to hobbies, to unforgettable parties, to missed lectures or exams that you only pass with a 3.0 because you were at a festival the weekend before?
For my part, after my little online research, I came to the conclusion that students probably do best with it if they rely on the famous golden mean: get up early every now and then, study with fellow students in the library, take frequent breaks And don’t forget one thing: simply close the laptop and live.