Everybody will have to work a little harder and step down from their personal pedestals to make it in this economy. If you have just a high school diploma or you have a felony conviction, it will be like climbing a societal Mt. Everest to make it, but since people have conquered the real mountain, advancement to the summit of the proverbial mountain can happen as well.
Just having an associates or bachelor's degree will not make the load that much lighter, but what you actually learn can never be taken away and that knowledge can be used as an important tool for survival. However, it does not really matter what tools and weapons you have at your disposal, if you do not have the drive and the fortitude to push through the tough times ahead, you will not be successful.
The hope is that as you are still breathing, your chances for success still exist. You have to possess the ability to hustle hard when the odds are stacked against you, meaning that when chaos is all around, your mind has to be clear, creative and decisive. Materialism is a distraction, comfort and security are the ultimate goals. In other words why flex a BMW when a Chrysler 300 will do fine? Why go to the Rocawear boutique when they sell it at Burlington Coat Factory?
Hustling hard is not about being blinged out, it is about working non-stop to achieve your goals, meet your needs and then fulfill your desires. Many young people, and to be honest, quite a few my age, don't really understand that. Somehow, someway, they think they have earned a sense of entitlement. This current economy has served as a great reality check for many persons that fall into that category.
Bottom line, in order to hustle hard successfully, one must be willing to make sacrifices, be willing to keep the faith when it seems hope is gone, and safely navigate through the pitfalls of life's journey to get to your ultimate goal. If you are not hustling hard, then you are only hustling yourself.