EXPLO alum Melissa has returned to campus for the evening's Main Event — but this time she's the performer with her renowned a cappella group, Backtrack. 

I started singing acapella in high school where I was in a choral group. Then at Johns Hopkins I joined a co-ed contemporary acapella group where I met all of my best friends. I didn't fall into Backtrack until a year after finishing school, when I realized music and singing were missing from my life. 

Here at EXPLO at Wellesley, I took mostly singing and dancing classes, in addition to marketing and STOMP. All of the techniques have really stuck with me throughout the years. In terms of choreography, we actually incorporate some of the moves I learned here at the program! It all sticks with you.

Coming back here was so surreal. As we were rolling up to campus, all the memories started rushing back. Even when I was downstairs just now, I saw the dance hall and it brought me right back to the dances we had here. I'm still actually connected with so many of the friends I made here; I see them on Facebook, doing amazing things and becoming so successful. It's so cool to see all the places EXPLO alumni go. 

If I could talk to my EXPLO-self, I would tell her to soak it all in. It was my first experience being away from home, so I was definitely homesick the first few days here. I spent those first few days crying, but by the end of the session, I was crying because I was leaving and my parents had to drag me away. Everyone here is so loving and supportive; it's the best environment. I'm glad I had that experience, though, because that transformation really allowed me to become more independent and gave me the confirmation that I could do things on my own. 

My advice to any EXPLO students now would be to learn everything they can. This is the coolest learning environment, all while mixed in with the fun, social aspects. Take whatever this program gives you, take whatever life gives you, and roll with it.