Jared, 15, is here for his third Explo summer and his first at Explo at Yale, where he likes it so much he's staying for both sessions. When Jared's not solving global issues in his International Crisis Management class, he likes to sing and hang out with his close friends.

This isn’t your first summer, is that right?
Right. This is my first summer at Explo at Yale, but I did two summers before this at Wellesley. Here, you have more freedom, but at Wellesley you don’t have to walk as far. At Yale, it’s a school in a city, but at Wellesley, it’s more like the campus is the city. It’s helped me figure out that I want a little bit of both when I go to college. I don’t want necessarily to be in a big city where the campus is really spread out, but I also don’t want to go somewhere that doesn’t have enough city life surrounding it.

You were here last session as well here. How did that go?
First session went really well. I met a lot of nice people from a lot of different places and this session is very similar. My favorite thing about last session was my weekend trip to Lake Compounce, which is a water and amusement park. It was so much fun.

What classes are you taking this session?
Mock Trial and Interior Design. In Mock Trial, we’re starting to learn about objections, which is cool. And in Interior Design, we started learning about the difference between a harmonious color palette and a contrasting color palette, where everything is different. You wouldn’t expect it to work, but it really does. So we had to color in this living room today. We picked out our color palettes from fabrics and we had to choose between harmonious or contrasting palettes.

What about your workshops?
For the first part I’m doing International Crisis Management, and next I’ll be doing Spending on a Budget. Today, we’re doing a simulation on a global natural disaster, so someone acts as the U.N., someone’s the President of the U.S., and we all have to draft a plan of action to respond to the event.

Explo allows you to be more free and choose what you want to do and who you want to hang out with. There’s a lot of freedom here to be yourself.

Well I hope your team can draft a successful plan. What hobbies to you like to do?
I love to sing and I love to bake — also going on my computer and checking out social media sites and all that. My favorite thing to bake would have to be these things called dirty brownies, which is cookie dough on the bottom, then Oreos, then brownie batter — it’s so good. It might also be ice cream cone cupcakes where I take ice cream cones, put tin foil around them, then pour in some cupcake batter and bake it. It’s really good.

That sounds incredibly delicious.How did you get into singing?
My mom heard me singing in the shower one day and thought it would be a good activity for me to do on the weekends. Now I go to a recording studio where I write and produce my own original songs.

Hit me up when you’re famous someday! How do the courses here compare to normal school?
Well, the courses here are more intriguing, because at school you just learn the basic courses. Here, there are courses that you would never take anywhere else. Like when I went to Explo at Wellesley, I took a class called Cupcake Challenges, which was like cupcake wars, more or less. A class like that would never happen in school. And in my Advertising and Marketing class, you get to make your own commercials. And that would also never happen in school. There’s a lot of stuff that goes on here that just wouldn’t be possible in a normal school. Explo allows you to be more free and choose what you want to do and who you want to hang out with. There’s a lot of freedom here to be yourself.

What’s it like making friends at Explo?
Making friends is really easy here because you can go up to anyone and say hi, whereas in school it’s sometimes awkward meeting new people and you’re often very shy. You can go up to literally anyone and strike up a conversation and make new friends.

After coming to Explo for a few summers, do you feel like you’ve grown at all?
Well, I feel like I’m starting to realize that it’s more important to have a few close friends than having a million acquaintances, because it’s just not worth it. You should try and find a group of people that really matter to you and try and stick with that. I’ve also learned how to be on my own more or less. Before I went to Explo, I never did my own laundry, I never went into town on my own. So, you really learn how to gain some independence from an experience like this.

How are the staff at Explo?
They’re great — you get a wide variety of people from all over the country and all over the world. I had an instructor last session for my Stress Management workshop who was from Argentina, and one from England. They’re from all over, really. One of instructors last year at Wellesley was from Zimbabwe. I don’t know how they find these people, but I’m glad they do.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
If you’re ever thinking about coming to Explo — or coming back to Explo if you’ve already been here — I would suggest coming here. Like they said in the beginning of the session, no two Explo summers are the same. There’s completely different people each time, so each experience is unique. So if you’re contemplating coming at all, you should definitely come.