Alison Snieckus

After struggling with the social aspects of school for many years, Ashlin joined PLC in the middle of her sophomore year. She had a dream of being a scriptwriter, and with the freedom of homeschooling she could focus her efforts on writing. At PLC, she worked with a volunteer who had experience writing for the theater. That first year out of school, Ashlin completed 3 scripts and published them online on WritersCafe, and FictionPress. Ashlin shared her love of scriptwriting in two exhibitions with the PLC community. Feeling ready to put herself out there a little more, Ashlin submitted a script to Amazon; she said she got lots of helpful reviews.

Ashlin took a year off following her time at PLC and then attended Hollins University, graduating in spring 2020.

In Ashlin’s Own Words:

Throughout elementary and most of middle school I talked a lot. I was one of those people you couldn’t get to shut up if you tried. I used to do a lot of weird stuff like put cookies on my hamburgers at lunch. I made a lot of friends that way. A lot of weird friends.

Now, my school district was weird. It always changed which neighborhoods went to which schools. When I went into seventh grade, I might as well have moved to Alaska. All the friends I had since pre-k were at a different school. I wasn’t used to having to talk to new people. I became more silent. No one really bothered me and I didn’t bother them. But I managed alright. I made a few friends by the end of the year, and my grades were pretty good. Then I moved for real.

I don’t know what I did to the kids at this other school, but it must have been horrible. It was like the instant I stepped foot into that school everyone hated me. For the first time in my life I didn’t really have anyone.

Through the rest of middle school and the beginning of high school I just kind of gave up socially. I started focusing on my grades and became more and more awkward. I developed an anxiety disorder (I get extremely anxious doing simple things like talking or going out) as well as depression. This along with the fact that teachers in high school seem to think they’re the only class you take all week, I became very stressed, and had panic attacks almost daily.

I went to this camp called Re-Tribe, and one of the counselors there mentioned this school called Princeton Learning Cooperative. To be honest with you, I was more scared about going there than my parents were. They must have saw that in the long run just about anything would be better than going back to school. They signed me up almost immediately.

I went to PLC on the first day and my anxiety kicked in immediately. But unlike at my old school people actually tried talking to me. I’m kind of hard to talk to so that’s all I could ask for. About a year later my anxiety is a lot better. I’m not really sure as to why, but I’m sooo much better.

I think I do more work overall but it doesn’t freak me out because I don’t need to worry about grades. If I don’t finish something I just have to catch up next week with no punishment. I can finally not lose sleep over things. I only study what I love. At first I only wanted to write scripts but now I’m open to many things – things I never would have even tried before. I feel like now I can say I’m a lot more responsible, and brave. I’m not completely there yet, but thanks to PLC I’m much better off.

–Ashlin, 2014