Emily sits for a brief interview in front of some flowers on the quad. She discusses the fast friends she made, the inside jokes they share, and her favorite moments from her Concentration and the rest of the summer.

Would you please begin by telling me your name, Concentration, and your favorite dinosaur?

Hello, my name is Emily, I'm in Psychology and Neuroscience this session, and I think my favorite dinosaur is a pterodactyl, because it starts with that silent P.

Why did you choose to come to EXPLO to study Psychology and Neuroscience this summer?

Neuroscience is really interesting. I love learning about the brain. Everything that has to do with the brain just intrigues me. And I like knowing now that the people that also like psychology and neuroscience are a lot like me.

I think that that's one of the most inspiring things from this summer. I found people that share common interests, my community, and we can get together and talk about what we're all passionate about and find people that love the same things.

Would you like to talk about that community at all?

Yeah! So, on the very first day before the shuttles arrived, I met these two girls. We were playing cards together, and we were making all these jokes and we realized we had a lot of the same humor — a unique sense of humor that I don't think a lot of other people have. All of us really clicked, and we created so many inside jokes. We joke about the squirrels all over campus — and we named them. I have this one memory of when we all got together...we made the funniest joke about the squirrels and the acorns, and we laughed so hard that we fell on the floor...it just was amazing. I think it was my favorite memory that I’ve had here, just laughing so hard I couldn't breathe, on the floor for, like, five minutes. We still reference it every single day.

What do your friends and community do when they aren't in their Concentration?

We had a bonfire. We went swimming. I did some arts and crafts with my living group, and we watched Criminal Minds. Little things like that...I can bond with people and really get to experience the people around me that care about me. Those are just my favorite things.

What's it like being away from home?

Of course, the first thing I think of is geographically is that Maine is very different from Florida. Home is very flat, very hot or humid, but up here in Maine, the mountains and the trees cool things down. It gets cold at night and in the morning. It's so beautiful. It's a nice change of scenery, but also the people are so much more welcoming.

I think that as someone who's bisexual, it really means a lot to know that the people in the [EXPLO and Maine] community are so accepting and so loving and care so much about me and my experience. Back home, you don't see that as often. It's not something that I get to experience, sadly, as much. So I love knowing that up here, I can feel proud and comfortable in my own skin.

What are some of the favorite things you’ve learned in your Psychology + Neuroscience Concentration?

I think dissecting the sheep brain was probably the coolest thing I've ever experienced. There's just something about seeing a sheep brain in real life and dissecting it. I literally got to squish the brain. It was just so cool — we learned about the parts of the brain and what each part does. But it's not just looking at a piece of paper or someone explaining what it’s like. I got to cut it open and, looking at those things, I was wowed a bit. Like, this organ does so much for the human. It's incredible to think about how much a brain does for someone and how small it actually is.

We also had a guest speaker that had us try to diagnose a hypothetical patient. So we'd have to ask them questions and feel a little closer to what it’s like to be a psychiatrist. Eventually, my friend and I got really close to understanding our patient had to have a type of schizophrenia. I think everyone enjoyed it so much. Being able to be a psychiatrist for a day as a teenager was so cool. I think that was just about everyone's favorite activity.

Any plans for your last few nights?

I'm so sad that it's going to come to an end soon, but I'm really trying to soak up the next few days. I think I found the people that really care about me — I’ll never forget them. I think I found myself here. I finally got to be proud of my sexuality and be who I am, and I think that means so much to me because it took me so long to get there. And now I think I'm going to take them with me (in my heart and my phone). Knowing that it's coming to an end is so hard, but I know that I can still talk to them — and maybe we can even come back next year.