Alex's Answer

Worried about letting my school down

Your Question

Hello, I’m representing my school for a quiz (in a team with 4 others) and I really don’t want to let anyone down. I get really nervous at even a small test, and I am worried about flunking it. What if I’m the one to fail? Thx 


Hi there and welcome to Ask Alex, 

You are telling us you are representing your school in a quiz together with 4 other students, and that you don’t want to let anyone down. You said you get really nervous even at a small test, and that you are worried about failing. 

Thanks for reaching out. We hope we can support you through this. It sounds to us like you are already on the road to success, as you have been selected for the team! Congratulations!  

We understand making it into a team who represents the school can make us feel very proud but also feel the pressure of being responsible for how the school is seen in that event. However, we would like you to reflect on why you were selected. What made you be part of the team? What qualities do you think you have that make you valuable for the team? There must be a reason (or more) why you are representing the school. Keep that in mind! Whatever happens after, does not change the fact that you are valuable. 

You are probably going to get nervous, fair enough, we would all be feeling nervous in a pressure situation. Then again, if you’ve made it onto the team, it shows that you can manage your nerves and perform well under pressure. Nerves can be annoying, of course. Do you have any tools that help you manage those nerves? There are many strategies we could use in a moment like that, but finding what works for you is the best way to go. Even so, after what you have expressed, we would like to try with one: challenging your thoughts.  

You think you will mess up, that you will fail. We call that an ANT (Automatic Negative Thought). ANTs take some place in our minds and make us believe things that are not really true. The first step is to spot them, and then call them for what they are. Now, these thoughts could set you up to “mess up” and “fail”, as if you are paving that road already. We don’t want that, and it is not fair, as we are not our thoughts.

How do we challenge a thought? Well, for starters, keep it real. Can you really mess up the whole quiz and team? Are you planning to do something terrible on that day? We bet the answer is no. Does the fact that you made it to the team make you responsible for the team’s complete success? Well, no, you have other members who will be doing their best as well. If we make a mistake, will it ruin the whole quiz? No, it won’t, there will be more chances to come back from it. Do mistakes make us a failure? Nope, they help us learn. What is failure, anyway? We really fail when we don’t even try it. 

Challenging those absolutes in your thinking could help quite a lot. If you would like to know more about other ways to cope with anxiety, have a look at this link:  

We hope this helps and that you get to enjoy representing the school. Remember it is important to have fun and enjoy the experience with the other students, as it is, in the end, a team event that defines itself by being responsibility-shared. We would like to encourage you with a quote that we find very helpful: 

“Ever tried? Ever failed? No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” 

If you would like to chat some more, you can freephone us at 1800 66 66 66 or Live Chat through The Childline team are here 24/7/365, for a confidential, anonymous, non-judgemental chat.

Best of luck,


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