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i'm failing and my life is being ruined

Community Member

I'm a Year 12 student right now, and I'd say I'm a pretty good student in most of my subjects. I've always gotten As and Bs. But this year in mathematical methods, I've never been more miserable.

I've failed (D and D+) two tests, and I just took another one yesterday that really broke me. I think I failed it. I cried all day, I understood the work so well but the test was nothing like ANY of the questions we have studied up until now. I feel cheated and stupid and I don't understand why I'm failing when I have never had trouble before. I have also a C and B grade for the other two tests, and all the tests are. worth 10%. I handed in a folio draft worth 20%, and I need an A on it to have any hope of passing.

I've tried everything, I've even got a tutor. I don't have any time for myself because I'm always studying now, and I think I understand until I get to. a test and inevitably fail it. I have one test left, and an exam worth 30% that I am POSITIVE i will fail. I'm crushed.

all ive ever wanted is to go to university. but i cant unless i pass this year and get my certificate. im trying so hard, harder than anyone else, but im not succeeding. i dont know what to do. ever since yesteray ive felt empty, i feel like i dont deserve to exist. i dont deserve the love my family gives me or the food they make. i dont deserve my friends.

if i can't go to unversity, i dont know what ill do with my life. it is worth nothing to me if i cant take it where i want it to go. all i need to do is pass but thats starting to look impossible. i cant feel anything but anxiety and pain. if my life cant be the one i imagined, and the one i know i deserve, i dont want it. i deserve. better than. this. i feel like im being punished for something.

please help me, i just want to know what. happiness is again. i have to pass. i refuse to fail, i will hate myself if i do and nobody will love me anymore. because i deserve nothing. i cant even be excited for when the year ends bvecause my future feels fake. i only see the pain i feel now. i can never be a person. i will love if i dont pass.

6 Replies 6

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello meg is sad,

I wish I could give you a hug. I am 36, but in year 12, I was very much in the same place as you. All I ever wanted was to be a straight A student and go to Uni.

My first piece of advice, please go speak to your teacher. Being open and honest about how you are finding the content a bit more difficult, or how what you studied was different to the tests, is the best thing you can do. Do you need to do this maths unit? Could you go to a more intermediate level of maths? Or can the teacher give you a mock exam for you to practice on before your next test? I think talking your options through with the teacher is a good start. Your teacher won't see you as a failure - they will absolutely respect your honesty. Could you speak to your parents about it also?

I had the same issue with maths - and I ended up having to pull out of the unit and going into intermediate maths, because I was just doing SO much. I had spread myself so thin, that I just couldn't give anymore.

You are not a failure. You are studying in the hardest year of high school in a global pandemic. PLEASE REMEMBER THAT.

I'm also going to tell you some things that I wish I had known at your age:

  • There is more than one way to get into university. You can get in the traditional way. You can get in via a bridging course. You can get in via mature age test. Trust me, you will get to university one way or another.
  • When you get into the "real" world of working - nobody cares what uni you went to. I promise you that nobody in my whole career has cared what uni I went to. As a teenager, we feel immense pressure to get into "THAT" course at "THAT" uni, but as an adult, it doesn't matter. So remember to try and take the pressure off yourself.

I know it's hard when you are "in the moment" and every day is school and focussing on study, but you are more than your school work.

Can you please do me a favour? As someone who completely feels every word you are saying, please look at the below link and have a read. I read this a little while ago and I realised I was in a cycle of achievement and was so scared of failing or not being perfect.


I'm here if you want to talk more.

Gabs x

Community Member

Thanks, I’m worried that if I speak to my teacher about the tests being to hard that I will just get what I’ve always gotten, that it must be my problem because other people understood it. I’m very sick of just being told that this is my fault you know?

I care less about what uni i go to and am more concerned about going at all. All the other pathways still require me to graduate high school with my certificate and I have to pass maths to do that.

I’m not allowed to drop down because it’s too late in the year as I have five weeks left, I’m stuck in this hellhole. Our practise tests are nothing near as difficult as the questions in the real ones, this last one included none of the maths we needed for the real test.

I just feel trapped and want to escape it. I’m feeling immense pressure not to stop working because I need to do well on my folio to pass, and so I can’t rest when I should be working on that yk?

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi Meg,

I am really sorry you did not get the marks you wanted. I finished my HSC two years ago and I know how you feel. I remember failing two of my subjects during the year, especially my trials but once I did the actual HSC exam, I did amazingly well. This is because schools always give harder tests during the year compared to the actual HSC exam.

I also got a tutor but it did not necessarily help so I motivated myself to work as hard as I can on the main subjects that I knew I did not do as well in. Speaking to my teacher was another thing I did, she offered me private help during lunchtimes which REALLY changed my view on the subject. Just remember teachers are not there to judge, but instead there to help you through your High school journey. Especially during your last year.

Also, you are dealing with COVID and I'm sure your markers will realise this and give you extra marks.

Have you applied for early entry for the course you want to do? I got into uni through that and a lot of my friends who did not get a good ATAR also got in through that.

Your marks do not determine your self-worth. They are things to help you improve for next time.

My advice is for you to only focus on Maths for 1 week. Create a schedule for your other subjects. Study 6-10 hours a day and I promise you are going to do amazing. You have heaps of time!!

Also, there are so MANY pathways other than university such as TAFE and college. These can help you get into uni by just adding an extra year into your course.

Hope this helps!

Hi meg is sad,

Is your teacher usually like that? Given the COVID situation, you'd imagine that teachers would be a bit more sensitive to students. I do know what you mean - it's hard when you are studying your butt off, but the results don't align with how hard you are trying. And then when you try to explain it, you just get shut down. I think the thing with being an adult now is that we sometimes forget how adults spoke to us as teenagers.

I'm going to tell you something that not a lot of people in my life know, and I hope it might help you. I never finished year 12. I was doing 6 of the subjects that get you into uni (they were called "TEE subjects" back in my day), I was in the debating team, I did surf lifesaving... and I got to near the end of Term 2 in year 12 and I just couldn't do it anymore. I was so tired and exhausted from studying, being who I thought my parents wanted me to be, and I just completely crashed. I ending up leaving school because the anxiety was so bad (which also resulted in an eating disorder), which fuelled my anxiety more because I thought I wouldn't be able to get into uni, so how was I ever going to change the world etc etc. It was a never ending cycle of anxiety, because even when I'd try to cut myself some slack, I'd then beat myself up about being a failure and disappointment to my family.

But guess what? I wasn't and I'm not. I worked on getting better, then I worked part-time and lived overseas, then I came back home, sat my mature age test at 20, and started uni. And at not one point did I complete year 12. I now have an undergrad, have had a successful career, have completed a masters and I'm now doing additional postgrad studies. And I still haven't finished year 12.

I'm not saying you shouldn't complete year 12 (like you said, there are only 5 more weeks left), but know that you actually can get into uni if you fail maths/just pass maths. Focus on the subjects that give you joy for the last 5 weeks. Most universities offer a safety net for year 12 students or offer other pathways if you fail a subject. You're just not told about them, because they don't want to wave a flag that doesn't get you to try hard during year 12.

Your ATAR doesn't define your success in life; you do.

Community Member

Hi meg is sad,

First I'd like to apologize on behalf of your teacher. I am so sorry that you feel as though you cannot talk to them about how you're feeling. A teacher's job does not stop at just teaching content. They are supposed to advise and support your learning. I am furious and disappointed that you feel so distanced from your teacher. They should not be making you feel like you cannot approach them. I am so, so sorry. I can promise you that your ATAR does NOT define your self-worth or your future.

I completed year 12, though I did terribly. I am not an academic person. Now I find myself, mid-twenties, at university studying education of all things! I went through school failing mathematics from year 3 all the way until year 12. I only found out later in life that it was because I have dyscalculia.

I have spent my entire life failing in my academic pursuits, so I totally understand your frustrations at wanting to succeed but feeling incapable of doing so. I urge you to try and take a step back. Deep breaths. Don't focus on the stressful NOW. Think ahead a little bit. What do you have to do to get into the course you want? The perfect ATAR score is only one entry-way. Research some bridging courses you could do in the chance that your ATAR does not work out. TAFE, I assure you, is a perfectly viable and rewarding pathway to achieve your goals. I have attended TAFE and it was one of the most beneficial courses I have ever done. I personally find that having numerous plans to achieve what I want to do helps me. If Plan A doesn't work out, you've already got Plans B, C and D ready and waiting!

I'm not a teacher yet, but my heart goes out to struggling students such as yourself. I just wish you had a more supportive educational team to help you through this time. If you need anything, I am here. 🙂

But for right now let's aim to turn 'meg is sad' into a 'meg is happy'!


Sasquatchion 🙂

Community Member

Hey, I was looking for some help for my daughter re: failing exams and came across your post. Given how long ago it was, I was wondering how you’re going today? Do you still feel the same way? What happened in the end and how are you feeling about it now? If you get this it would be great to hear from you. My Year 9 child just failed most subjects despite being flagged as ridiculously bright. Anxiety, adhd and depression are close companions and life’s hard. It would be good to hear from someone who’s on the other side of high school. Thanks.