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Yessenia Gutierrez
Yessi Can

Credit: Amanda Suarez

The fireworks have fizzled out and it’s that time of the summer where I once again begin asking myself, am I doing anything really worthwhile with my temporary freedom?

The short answer to that is yes. After all, a part-time internship at the PSPCA (Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and conducting research for my Latin American and Latino Studies thesis aren’t exactly wastes of time. They are both incredibly relevant to my future career goals, and, as my friend recently told me, “another summer, another line on your resume.”

This has been my mentality ever since my freshman summer, half of which I spent back home in Florida and half in Guatemala and Belize with family. Coming back and hearing friends’ stories about internships and summers abroad made me wonder if I hadn’t wasted those three months. I told my parents that that would be the last summer I would spend at home. From then on they could expect me to be working on a job or internship, most likely not in Florida. So far I’ve kept my word, as this is my second summer staying in Philly.

But I want my summers to be more than just another line of ink on high-gloss resume paper.

A lot of my extracurricular, so to speak, summer activities have stayed the same: beach trips, potlucks, movies, barbecues, 4th of July dinners and frequent trips to Chinatown. Yet something seems different. The first time around, staying in Philly was a big deal for me. I was spending my first summer away from home, it was my first time working full-time and paying my own way and I was still excited about having just turned vegan in such a vegan-friendly city. Now, everything is starting to feel like a repeat.

My internship is great, my part-time job is great and Philly is still a great city to be in during the summer. So why do I keep asking myself, did I make the right decision to stay in Philly once again? Wouldn’t I have been just as happy being back home, even if I was only working part-time as a tutor or house cleaner? Sure, it adds nothing substantial to my resume, but I would have had more time to read, to write, to sleep, to watch movies, to see my family and play with my dogs.

I’ve made lists upon lists, as I’m prone to do, of things I want to accomplish this summer, beyond resume building. I’ve made plans to review Japanese, write a little everyday, catch up on TV shows and finally beat Pokémon Diamond (I mean, seriously, the release of X and Y is right around the corner). As silly as they sound, ultimately, these are the things that make my summers fulfilling, not that extra sentence on a word document. Yet they are the things that are becoming increasingly harder to enjoy. I thought guilt over reading for fun or having a movie marathon was suppose to be restricted to the academic year; am I the only one who feels it encroaching into summertime?

Of course, as much as I might bemoan my decision to have a busy summer, I know there is no way I would have chosen otherwise. I would not have felt right returning home and not paying for my living expenses. Like many of my classmates, I need to find a job right after graduation, which means I can’t afford a leisurely summer of self-discovery and personal growth — at the expense of marketable job skills.

That doesn’t mean I can’t meet my personal goals around my scheduled work times. Believe me, I’m trying. I’ve finally gotten around to watching “How to Train Your Dragon” and “Jack Frost: Rise of the Guardians.” I’m listening to more Japanese-language podcasts then I can count. I’m still committing to writing biweekly for the DP this summer.

And I’m still counting down the days until I visit home at summer’s end, and hopefully catch up with friends who stayed at home but are still creating impressive resumes. Who knows, maybe they’ll be wondering if they made the right decision to stay home yet again?

Yessenia Gutierrez is a rising College senior from Hollywood, Fla. She can be reached at You can follow her @YessiWrites. “Yessi can” runs biweekly during the summer.

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