From Pinterest to Instagram, photos of women living their best lives and encouraging others to do the same are posted everywhere. Lifestyle influencers like Danielle Carolan or health gurus like Kenzie Burke are inspiring young women to follow their dreams and become the best versions of themselves. From post-spin class selfies to announcing brand deals, it is easy for young people to feel obligated to pursue the same lifestyle as public figures with thousands of followers.
The movement of “Girl Power” and “The Future is Female” are also big contenders for “hustling to achieve your dreams.” Influencers are not only “Instagram famous,” but they design clothing lines, record podcasts, speak as panelists, and write ebooks. The influencer lifestyle is the modern-day equivalent to the American Dream.
Since I’m a Mass Communication student, I feel as though I need to have an online presence with an aesthetically pleasing Instagram page along with other social media outlets such as a Podcast, Youtube channel, and blog.
Being apart of a networking community for fellow students in my industry, I see a lot of students presented with aspirational opportunities such as attending fashion shows or interning at a well-known company.
Not only are these so-called influencers pursuing their careers, but they are also promoting a balanced lifestyle of health, fitness, fashion, and fun. For years, we’ve known social media to be toxic, addicting, and land of photoshop illusions. But how do you photoshop success?
I realized that this culture of hustling and grinding is putting pressure on me to feel like a failure if I don’t thrive in every area of my life. After an appointment with my advisor, I discovered that school wasn’t the route of my stress; it was my boss. And by my boss, I don’t mean my employer…I mean the tiny Miranda Priestly that lives in my head telling me to wear chic designs, have photoshoots, send pitches, and write a New York Times Bestseller.
I was the person putting elaborate stress on myself to reflect the perfect image of social media. I’m only nineteen years old and I feel like an immense failure. When in reality, I’m the first in my family to go to college, I am the editor of a publication on campus and I have several published works.
But honestly, none of that matters because by doing all of that I have zero friends, poor mental health, and sluggish physical health. I have worked myself to death to impress less than 500 followers.
So, why not just delete all of my social media? Well, I always convinced myself that an online presence is key to unleashing my career in journalism. Having an online presence is vital in my career field, but I think I can afford a break amid my sophomore year of college.
By hustling this early in the semester, I already feel burnt out and unmotivated to excel in my classes. If that is how college is going for me, I can only imagine the burnout I will feel if I continue to put pressure on myself in my twenties.