Matthew Munson: A new school year and a hitch in uni plans

Matthew and Bryan

Blimey; do you have those weeks that spin and spiral past like a high-speed train? This week at Casa de Munson has been like that; after the different pace of the summer holidays, it’s always a culture shock to get back into the normal routine of life.

Bryan embraced his new school year with open arms. He couldn’t get out of the front door quick enough at 8am on Monday morning; he wanted to see his friends again, and I totally understand that – he’s too cool for his dad and needs people his own age as well. I missed him exactly as much as I thought I would, which is a lot; he was totally focused on school, which is entirely right. I’m glad of it; he has moved into Year 8, is now in a size 12 shoe, and is almost as tall as me. It’s more of an adjustment for me, I suspect.

As you know, I’ve been planning to go to university in September, but it’s now fifty/fifty as to whether I can go. I sat my A-Level qualifications 24 years ago and, as you might imagine, I haven’t kept the certificates in the intervening time. It seems that the university is rather specific about verifying these certificates – and, if I can’t get them verified, then I can’t go to university. We’ll have to see what happens when I make some phone calls on Monday, so I’ll keep you informed; next weekend, I’ll know for sure whether or not I get to go to university, so I’ll either be really happy or a little depressed.

I’ve been working on a book over the past few months – I’m always writing something, but this book has been something of a passion project for me – and have finally finished the first draft of it. However, that’s just the first draft, and there’s still some more work to be done; I need to check that it all makes sense, and work on a couple of the sub-plots to make them a little bit more engaging. That’s part of the joy of being a writer; you have to find a way to be self-critical about your work, without delving too deep into an endless trail of self-doubt.

When I was younger, I had wanted to be a journalist, in a similar vein to my dad, but soon decided that journalism wasn’t for me – I preferred making things up from the recesses of my brain. Yes, I could make a cynical comment about a few odd journalists (not you, Kathy, I promise), but I like fiction instead.

It’s lovely watching Bryan develop as he grows up, and I’ve enjoyed developing my own writing style as well. That’s a huge challenge for me; I like to think I’m a better writer now than I was back in my twenties. We all grow as we age (I hope); if I was facing the challenges around my university studies back in my twenties, I don’t think I would have managed it quite as easily. But I’ve grown broader shoulders over the years, thank heavens; life can be full of challenges and, while I’m a little anxious about next week will bring in terms of my university career, I’m determined to face it head on and deal with any of the consequences – whether I can go or not, I will be positive for this coming year and improve writing skills one way or the other.

I am determined to show my brilliant son how I manage stress and anxiety, because we all have to deal with those emotions in our lives, and I want to show Bryan that we can be productive even when dealing with those challenges.


  1. I have kept all of my A level certificates, I have all of my qualifications in a special folder and have even digitally uploaded them in case they get lost or destroyed.

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