As @Mordecai and @Nazgus raised in TOMD, there's a phenomenon at prestige American institutions of a puritanical work ethic, where students feel like they have to be "on" at all times. Pushing hard, pushing constantly. Every hour of every day to be optimised in a constant search for personal enrichment, growth, productivity. A lifetime of blind conditioning underlies this. These students have had 18 years of helicopter parenting out of 1) certain fortunate working-class circles with high collegiate ambitions and 2) upper-mid class circles terrified that their kids will be downwardly mobile. Because downward mobility is so much deadlier than ever. There's also the culture of moral and career expectations. The highest paying, white collar professions in America demand 60+ hours at a minimum, be it law, medicine, or banking. Silicon Valley startups and many prestige software firms have similar expectations. If you're successful, you deserve that success. What we have is a generation of elite children whose entire childhood from near-birth is one long, extended preparation for their professional careers. The pressure can be intense. I remember some of the highest-achieving students at my university scoff at banking — 100 - 120 hour weeks as a lowly analyst? We did that for years as chemical engineering students, and on much more challenging material than excel models. This isn't to discount the hardships that many ordinary Americans have; if you're attending school while pregnant or having to support your parents and siblings, any of a number of volatile life events that more privileged meritocrats will never experience, power to you and good luck. But those pressurised who take advantage of their fortune can achieve like you're likely never to. As an acquaintance put it: It doesn't always pan out well, of course. There's much toxic and superficial about the system. Recently from the NYT: It leads to such ridiculousness as by this NYU and Villanova Law grad: This point of this thread is to commiserate over "always being on," which we can all relate to on some level given social media habits. Comments on workaholism are welcome: critiques, observations, tips on coping [that article on attention management was great, if people want to discuss it further]. This phenom isn't just American; any child whose sole focus was being "groomed" for prestige experiences has likely dealt similarly. Students at Harbin University of Technology, the so-called "Chinese Berkeley", are sure to feel as Nazgus does. More broadly, burnout seems to be a thing in the times we live in, where everyone and anyone feels the need to have a side-hustle or two. If you just want to contrast with your own experiences or societal expectations and how retarded it can get, please do!