Ask Sam letter


To Sam


I am 17 years old and am currently doing A levels. I'm finding the pressure all around me to fit in, grow up, do well and study too much that sometimes I feel like i'm not myself at all. Not in a metaphorical way. But sometimes I feel like i'm watching someone else's life go past while I'm stuck inside my head watching.

I know people have this problem. But it's become a serious concern for me. I want to know if there are any stress relief tactics or ways to get rid of this feeling in particular.
Thanks in advance :)

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Thanks for your letter. I’m pleased you’ve written to me as I can hear you’re having a hard time at the moment and I know this is something that other young people would relate to as well.

College and A levels can be a very difficult time for young people. Along with more intense, demanding courses you’re also having to mix with new people and ‘find yourself’ as a person whilst also trying to work your whole future out as well.

With your college work, you may be able to speak to someone at college to get support to work out a study plan and also discuss the best ways for you to study. It’s generally recommended that you break down what you need to do into smaller chunks and then work through those. It's also a good idea to make sure you take regular breaks as studying too long can affect how much you actually remember.

You might also find some useful information on our Homework and Revision page which has links to other relevant pages as well. It’s also important to try to keep some time to do other things to give you a break and relax – like spending time with family, seeing friends and having some fun.

You’ve also talked about finding it hard to fit in and feeling under pressure to grow up. That sounds like it’s making it harder for you to enjoy your time at college. It sounds like you’ve found a way of coping with this stress by somehow distancing yourself but this leaves you with a very strange feeling that you’re starting to worry about. 

It may help to talk about this with someone to help you understand it more, work out if there are any triggers that make this happen and help you to figure out what kind of stress relief tactics might work for you. 

I know the counsellors at ChildLine would be happy to talk to you about this as they often support young people with situations like these. You can ring them on 0800 1111, log on for an online 1-2-1 chat via the website or send an email. You could also ask at college if they have a counselling service that you could access.

Take care,

Need help straight away?

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

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