Hustle culture at university vs. how to be engaged in careers without the pressure

Today we’re talking about those invisible pressures that students face in university. What is hustle culture, and how can students avoid the pressure of thinking about your future on top of an already demanding academic year? Read on to find out our tips!

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What is hustle culture at university?

You might have heard about hustle culture: it’s all about living your best life, maximising your time, being on top of everything, working with a clear mindset and keeping busy with side hustles and career-boosting activities.  In addition to this, you of course get your weekly essays out with ease and even post inspirational posts on LinkedIn about it all. Sounds familiar? No? That’s because it’s incredibly unrealistic.

Hustle culture is the product of a society that places high importance on how busy you are academically and professionally, without much regard to the actual value of your activities, your wellbeing or your other priorities.

As a student navigating a virtual university experience, these pressures are very much around, just in a different way. There are several academic, societies’ and careers events every week, offering great opportunities to meet academic or employers and network, develop skills and get your career journey going…aren’t you already taking part in every virtual opportunity possible?

Yeah no…

There is just so much going on at King’s and only so much time during the day. Messages about the need to maximise your academic, personal and professional development can surround students left and right, and the pressure to overwork yourself can easily affect your wellbeing.


Your three steps to realistic success

So, with all of these opportunities going on during the virtual academic term, King’s students hardly have time for yet another message about ‘how important it is to focus on your career journey!”. So let’s challenge this idea that you need to be on a constant career hustle. There are ways to work on yourself but avoid being part of (and being affected by) an unsustainable hustle culture.

Let’s see what three things you can focus on today, to be engaged in careers activities with less pressure and more success.


a cup of coffee with the word 'begin' on the cup
Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

1)   Do less, with more intention

Rather than being hyper-engaged, do less but do it with intention. How can students do this? The tip is to reflect on your situation right now, and consider what activities feel important and right for you at the moment.

Be kind and realistic about what you need, and in what way you like to learn. Ask yourself some questions that can help you find your priorities.

  • Do you enjoy attending large scale events, like ‘Discover Careers In…’ panels, where you can learn by listening and can easily ask questions via the chat?
  • Would you rather be part of more intimate events, like career workshops, where you get to be part of a discussion and interact with others in King’s community?
  • Do you like creating your own experiences, and want to develop yourself or your student group further with the support of the Student Opportunity Fund?
  • Do you enjoy Career Festivals, where you can connect directly with employers and learn what’s it like in ‘the real world’?
  • Do you think that a one-to-one appointment is something you need right now, to open up and receive guidance?



2)   Just do one thing

Once you know why you’re in the (virtual) room, you’ll want to make your intention into a reality. But for those of us who are not familiar with taking part in virtual events, or have never talked to employers, what should they do first?

To get started in being active in events, here’s your mantra: just do one thing.

What this means is, don’t set huge lists of expectations – remind yourself that doing just one thing is enough to build success. Starting small, just arrive on time. Or just comment one post in the Teams chat. Just ask one question from an employer on Graduateland. Just reply to one student’s comment in a virtual workshop. Or maybe even bravely unmute your mic and share one thought you had during the session.

Taking tiny steps is enough. They will enable you to be present and active without feeling overwhelmed.


Image of a figure standing on top of a mountain during sunrise
Photo by Nghia Le on Unsplash

3)   Know that confidence comes with time

Many students don’t feel confident about careers just yet – and that’s okay. It comes with time. For now, your intention will help you find events and opportunities that make sense for you. And your mantra to ‘just do one thing’ can help you manage those important small steps and keep you engaged. As time goes on, you’ll feel empowered to keep going and your small steps will turn to bigger steps. On our previous blog about careers and wellbeing, we also talked about how a buddy, like a friend or coursemate to do careers activities with can support your confidence further.


The idea of working on your career journey during university can sometimes feel overwhelming. But really, doing small things during your time at King’s will build up benefits. By doing just one thing with intention, you are less likely to feel pressure from hustle culture. To develop yourself at your own pace, King’s Careers & Employability KEATS pages are an excellent place to do Just One Thing. Start by watching our introduction video to learn what our KEATS pages offer.