The Dilemma of Summer Planning

As summer all-too-rapidly approaches, I've been frantically trying to find an answer to the looming question of summer plans. Should I go home to Portland to spend time with my friends and family (and beloved dog)? Or would my time be better spent elsewhere? Should I try to find a job that I will enjoy? Or should I beef up my resume with fancy-sounding and important-looking internships? How am I supposed to make enough bank to save for the upcoming school year? Or should I just find the most enjoyable job and pretend not to worry about money? And what about all my grand plans to travel, to see the world, to visit all of those places I've been dreaming about since discovering my elementary school library's collection of National Geographic back issues? If I miss out on "such-and-such opportunity," will I regret it later?

Part of the problem is my inability to make decisions, paired with my tendency to constantly second-guess every move I make. But I know I'm not the only college kid out there struggling with her summer plans. Sometimes I feel like these decisions will determine my life path. My inner monologue tends to go something like this: if I don't take that important-sounding internship, then my resume will have too much white space, then potential future employers won't want to hire me, then I'll never be able to have a decent career, eliminating all chances of success. (My brain works in strange ways.) All of this pressure (though most of it is self-induced) just makes me cringe whenever summer plans are mentioned.

I still think that summer is supposed to be a carefree, happy-go-lucky time, filled with lemonade and pools and good books and sleeping until two in the afternoon. Now, whenever someone even mentions the word "summer," I get stressed out and start to think about the comparative benefits of life as a hermit.

In the end, I decided to postpone my world travels (at least for the time being) to build up my resume and take an internship with the public affairs department at an energy company in Portland. I'm looking forward to having a "real job" for once—one that genuinely interests me, for that matter—as opposed to teaching whiny children with overbearing parents how to blow bubbles at my neighborhood pool, as I've done for the past few summers. Couple that with the fact that the internship is a paid one—a rare thing in this economy—and I was sufficiently persuaded to leave the pool and summers past behind me.

As to be expected, however, I'm still second-guessing my decision. I'm not looking forward to life inside a cubicle, complete with fluorescent lighting and recycled air, nor am I excited about having to wake up before noon. I'll miss out on spontaneous day trips to the coast with friends, being able to watch The Price Is Right without having to Tivo it beforehand and spending days in my hammock, curled up with all seven Harry Potter books. I hope this will be a worthwhile and stimulating internship. But it means that adulthood is on the very near horizon, and frankly, I wouldn't mind another summer of childhood.