Saying No To “Grind Culture”


We live in the age of nonstop texts, 6 second videos, short phone calls, and neverending news notifications. If we don’t appear busy, then others view us as less productive. So we join another club, add another class, or work a new job. Sleep is secondary. If you’re not complaining about your packed schedule, there is no way you could be successful, right?

Surely you have been in one class, working on an assignment for another class. Although it may seem as though your to-do list is neverending, success should not be identified by what you do, but more so by why and how you do things. What if we began to prioritize quality over quantity? 

In a culture that glorifies “the grind,” self-worth becomes defined not by your passion or the quality of the end product, but by how miserable you were making it. Take for instance, our study habits. Far too often, students complain about workload, citing hours of homework, pulling all-nighters, or flexing a time they “B.S.’d” their way through a project. 

What if we took the time we use to complain to instead focus on better study habits, healthier sleep patterns, and the prioritization of things we care most about? If your schedule is genuinely overwhelming, then trim it down and focus on the tasks that mean the most to your passions and your goals. Being able to recognize when enough is enough and say no to things is not a sign of weakness, but of maturity.

Bragging about how much stuff you have to do is much easier than actually doing what makes you happy and brings you closer to your goals. But by refusing to give into the “grind culture,” you open yourself up to the possibility of new successes, greater appreciation for the gifts you have been given, and fall into healthier habits. 

Of course, we know that being busy is not inherently bad. Most of the time, we are busy because we care about classes, hobbies, and service. We are incredibly privileged to have the ability to fill our schedules with all that DePauw has to offer, and we should take advantage of what we can. But busyness comes with the responsibility to embrace your schedule with a mindset of gratitude and intentionality.