RRC Polytech student breaks hustle culture stereotypes by choosing to study part-time

By: Gracynn DesChamps

Hustle, sleep, repeat — that’s the life of many full-time college students. But that lifestyle doesn’t appeal to one RRC Polytech student, who is pushing back on the “hustle culture” mindset.

Hustle culture, a term adopted in the mid-2000s, is the pressure to be working at maximum capacity at all times to achieve a goal. It creates a narrative that young adults won’t be successful unless school and work are their only priorities.

Madison Oliver, a part-time Graphic Communications student, said she prefers a schedule that allows her to study on her own time.

The 23-year-old’s schedule allows more time to focus on the class she’s taking and continue working full-time without feeling overwhelmed.

“I still have to pay off my car loan and buy groceries,” said Oliver. “A big part of my decision was money.”

Oliver must complete 12 courses to earn her Graphic Communications certificate and each course ranges from $275 to $505.

“If it was a lower cost than it is now, I would go full-time,” said Oliver. “Though, I don’t want to completely overload myself.”

Oliver has four years to complete the program and is currently taking it one course at a time. An average day for her consists of work, a quick hello to her boyfriend, and one to two hours of studying before any other tasks.

“I try and push myself to do as much as I possibly can until my last three brain cells are like ‘Please I’ve had enough.'”

Part-time student Madison Oliver studies from home on Mar. 10, 2022./MADISON OLIVER

Cognitive psychologist, Jason Leboe-McGowan, said studying for short periods of time, like Oliver does, can be beneficial for retaining information.

“The problem with remembering is primarily interference between related types of information stored in memory,” said Leboe-McGowan. “This makes it difficult to bring that knowledge back into consciousness when you might need it later.”

He recommends distributed practice, which means taking breaks between studying and doing homework. This has been proven to produce better results than studying the same type of material over a long stretch of time.

Though Oliver can take multiple courses and get her certificate sooner, she said a staggered approach is best for her lifestyle.

“The two-year goal is more feasible for me than buying them all and doing them all at the same time,” said Oliver. “Taking on a full course load while working a full-time job and volunteering and trying to have a social life would be too much.”

Though hustle culture is the lifestyle many students live, Oliver is one of many enrolled in part-time programs at RRC Polytech who’ve chosen to stretch their college career.