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Letters to parents | Exams and Social Life

This week, we’re sharing this letter of a high school student Mary, who has written about her mental health issues with her parents. If you would like to contribute writing or get involved, let us know in the comments, on WeChat or email. We would especially like to hear from our younger followers!

​High school could a difficult time for many people. CandleX works with schools in Beijing to deliver workshops and events aimed at coaching students through this difficult time and equipping them with mental health resilience that will last them into adulthood.

My dearest parents,

It’s been quite a long time since the last time we really talked. I know you are very busy trying to earn a living, but all I hope is to have more of your company. When I won first place in the piano competition, I wish you could also stay with me and enjoy the moment, but you are so busy working at the hospital that you couldn’t spare time with me.

There is a lot going on in high school, and I don’t have anybody to talk to. I feel very lonely and helpless sometimes. The academic pressure is huge because my courses are difficult to understand. The exams are very hard, and most of my classmates get higher scores than I do. My sleep quality is largely impacted. I remember that once I didn't sleep for a whole night and stayed awake till the morning. Even though I try my best to understand every concept, examine every question, and review my notes regularly, I don’t get satisfying results.

My teachers say I’m too nervous about taking exams. I think so too because you put a lot of pressure upon me and I wanted to perform well on every exam, but it’s hard and stressful. I wish you could manage your expectations and encourage me to do better when I fail tests instead of showing a disappointed expression. Another reason for my bad exam results is my poor time management. Last semester, I spent most of the time playing at night. I often finished my homework at midnight and didn’t get time to review what l learned during the day. As a result, I crammed for my finals, but the scores were even worse than I expected. I hope you could give me some tips on how to be more relaxed while taking exams and how to organize myself better.

Apart from the academic pressure, I don’t know how to express myself because I am more introverted compared to my more outspoken peers. I often have to do things I don’t want to do. For example, when my classmates ask me to go ice-skating with them, I would prefer to stay at home and do schoolwork. However, I didn’t want to let them down, so I couldn’t refuse them. So I went ice-skating with them and forgot that there was a deadline for my research paper for my English class. Unsurprisingly, I missed the deadline and lost many points on that project. If I had the courage to refuse their request, things may not go so badly. I often blame myself for not being decisive enough, and I wish I could be braver in voicing my opinions and decisions. I overthink other’s opinions so much that I forget to reflect my own feelings and speak out my inner thoughts. I know it’s important to be oneself, and I wish I could improve on this and gradually be myself and have the courage to speak up.

Next month, I will go aboard to attend a piano competition. I wish to have your company. I wish you could encourage and comfort me if I lose the competition. And I wish to see your brightest smiles and applause for me if I finally win.



A big thank you to Mary for sharing this letter with us.

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