Ask Sam letter


To Sam

I can’t succeed

Dear Sam, This is my first time on here and I read about letters to you. I really need someone to speak to, I feel ashamed to speak to anyone I know right now. I can’t succeed in life. I don’t think I will ever succeed. I call myself a failure because that’s what I am. I am in year 11 and I can’t do anything. I try so hard but I don’t even know why i bother because I don’t go anywhere far. I cant do maths, and I won’t go anywhere with what scores I get. I feel that I disappoint my family. My whole family is smarter than me. Why am I the only dumb one? I get anxiety around my father, because I’m not good enough. My parents hate on the inside. It affects my mental health as well. School gives my depression because of the work. I am not the smartest and when I try I always fail. This determines my life and I can’t afford to mess it up like I always do. How can you help me? If you ever read this

Ask Sam


Hi there

Comparing yourself to others can affect your confidence and self-esteem. Everyone is different and trying to be like other people can make it harder to see your own strengths and qualities. Nobody succeeds all the time and failing at things is part of what helps us to grow.

Schools can sometimes focus on what’s not going well, like subjects or activities that you find difficult. When this happens it can feel as though nothing is going right for you. You could forget things about yourself like being creative, that you enjoy art or music or are good at sports. Taking time each day to remind yourself of the things you enjoy and are good at can help a lot.

Studying for exams and thinking about the future can feel like a lot of pressure is on you and  you have to do well in everything. Remember: everyone fails from time to time – whether it’s a test, coursework or job interview. We can learn a lot from the things we don’t do well at and can help us to do better in the future.

Everyone is good at different things. Try writing a list of things you do well and enjoy. This could help you see yourself in a new and different way. You could try thinking of things that are different to what you’re studying at school, like being able to visualise improving a room or garden, organising and planning an event like a birthday party or being able to see different perspectives and points of view when people disagree. It’s okay if you struggle to well in subjects like maths or science – there are lots of other skills that are just as important for courses and jobs.

People learn in different ways and you might find making studying fun or trying a different way of learning helps, especially with subjects you need to do but find hard. Try using colour codes to make links between facts and information, ask for past exam questions to research the answers, read things out loud or make an audio recording that you can play while you sit and relax. You could write or draw the things you need to remember on notes on your wall so you see them often and make up rhymes or song lyrics to help you remember certain facts.

Thank you for your letter, I hope this has helped. You can always talk to a counsellor at Childline if you’d like more support and advice.

Take care,


Need help straight away?

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

Ask me a question

You can ask me about anything you want, there's nothing too big or small. I read every single letter but I can only answer a few each week. My replies are published here on my page.

Write me a letter