Ask Sam letter


To Sam


This year has been one of the most stressful of my life. Im expected to be sitting over ten exams this year which has put an incredible amount of pressure on me as im being pushed to stay late at school miss my lunch time for revision sessions and also ive had to spend alot of my easter holidays at school. On top of this my parents have expected me to go to work to get money for myself. All this has gotten on top of me and i've hit wall. After people expecting to much from me ive dissapointed teachers with recent grades. Im strugglng to stay foccused on revision because after being in school im exhausted after being there late most nights so im loosing out on subjects. Some are saying for me to quit my job but my family cant afford for me to do that and the independence has done me the world of good. I just need some help on how to stay foccused for the next 2 months so i don't go through my exam period like a nervous wreck and then crack under the pressure which could obviously lead to failure and then i'l have to re-consider career prospects. After struggling with depression im terrified that this imense pressure will lead to to it happening again and i dont think i'd be able to go through it again. I just want some trustworthy solid advice to help me get through these exams and hopefully give me a bit more confidence in being able to pass.
Please help me sam 
Ask Sam


Hi there,

Thank you for your letter. It sounds like you're coping with a huge amount right now. You’ve really done the right thing by writing to me for some support. It’s important not to try and cope with everything on your own.

You’ve described this year as being the most stressful year of your life. It’s completely understandable that being expected to sit over ten exams would feel like an incredible amount of pressure. Most young people can find exam times stressful. This stress can feel even more intense when you have to cope with other things on top of this.

It sounds like all your time is spent either studying/revising, or working. I can imagine all your energy is being used up in carrying such a huge responsibility and expectation.

It’s not surprising you feel you have ‘hit a wall.’ It’s great you have the motivation and drive but it’s also important that you are able to look after yourself too. Constantly feeling like you are going full steam ahead can leave you feeling ‘burnt out’.

It sounds like all this pressure has been building up and now it’s impacting on your grades and being able to focus on revision. It’s no wonder you are feeing exhausted with having to stay late most nights.

You’ve said your family can’t afford for you to quit your job – you haven’t mentioned more about this or how many hours a week you are working. Sometimes families can struggle financially, but that’s not something you should ever be made to feel responsible for. This should not be affecting your education. You can read a bit more about money worries here.

If you haven’t already, you might find it helpful to have a look at our pages about Exam stress and Homework and revision too.

You’ve said you just need some help on how to stay focused for the next 2 months. It might be useful for you to think about what support you would need or any changes that could help you to feel more focused. Having a space to let everything out can feel like a good release. You can talk more about this with a ChildLine counsellor by calling 0800 1111, having a 1-2-1 online chat or by sending an email. It can also help to think about what advice you would give to a friend if they were in the exact same situation.

A lot of people worry about exam results and it’s natural to want to get high grades. I get the impression you feel worried about the possibility of having to reconsider career prospects. Whatever happens – it doesn’t always mean having to completely give up on the career you want. Often there are different options that can support you in getting there. We have more information about Your future and Making decisions which could help you.

Sometimes it can help to talk to a teacher you feel would be supportive about what your options might be. You can find out more about asking an adult for help.

I can hear the thought of struggling with depression again is terrifying for you. I can imagine it took a lot of strength to overcome it before. It does seem like you are carrying a huge weight. I think getting some extra support could really help you. You can get in contact with a ChildLine counsellor at any time – talking through all of this and getting the support you deserve would be a great start.

Hope this letter has been helpful.

Take care,

Need help straight away?

You can talk privately to a counsellor online or call 0800 1111 for free.

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