Ask Sam letter


To Sam

School Stress

I'm 17 and am in my second year of sixth form and I've just finished the process of applying to university. The universities I have applied for have fairly high grade requirements and even though my predicted grades are good enough, I don't feel like I will get in. My Uncle has just died and I'm really struggling to keep up with my school work especially after having time off for the funeral. this is adding to the stress and worry of not getting into university as if I dont do well enough, I wont be able to keep any place even if I do get in. What should I do?
Ask Sam


Hi there,

Thank you for your letter.

It sounds like you are feeling really stressed at the moment with school. I can hear that there is a lot of pressure on you to achieve.

Applying for university can be a nerve-wracking time. You’ve said that you’re worried about getting into university and keeping your place. This is something a lot of young people feel anxious about and there are a few pages around the site that you might find useful. There’s a page in the Explore section about making life decisions such as going to university. You could also take a look at this message board thread where young people are discussing applying for university.

You’ve said that your predicted grades are good but having time off school for your uncle’s funeral has made it difficult to keep up with the work. Often schools and colleges are able to offer you extra time and support when you’ve been through a traumatic event, like the death of someone close. I wondered if you might be able to talk to a teacher or school counsellor about getting some extra support. You may find it useful to have a look at the bereavement page in the Explore section for information and advice.

Sometimes talking to adults in school can be intimidating, especially if they don’t know what has been going on for you. Perhaps you could think about talking to your parents or carers or a trusted friend about the stress you are feeling so they could offer you some support in telling your school.

Feeling stressed and worried about school can impact on lots of different areas of your life. Writing to me is a really positive step as talking about our feelings can really help. But sometimes it can be useful to have a few extra stress relieving tips. Some people use breathing exercises when they are feeling stressed. Breathing in deeply from your diaphragm rather than your chest can help calm your body and mind. Some people distract themselves by listening to music, writing or drawing. There are some more tips on the anxiety page in the Explore section. Perhaps you could try a few different ideas and see what works for you?

You might also like to think about talking to one the ChildLine counsellors. You can do this by calling for free on 0800 1111 or logging in for a 1-2-1 chat or sending an email.

Remember that you are not alone and ChildLine is always here for you.

Take care,


Need help straight away?

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

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