Matthew Munson: University challenge and a special family celebration

Matthew and Bryan

A week’s a long time in Casa de Munson. This time last week, I wrote about the trials and tribulations of my university plans. On the Friday, I had received some news that might have meant I couldn’t go to university and start my course. It was an emotional experience, as I’d been excited about it since visiting the open day back in May.

But, as I say, things can change. I will always try and front up to a problem, so on Monday of this week, I phoned the university, determined to explore every opportunity before I gave up. I was fortunate to get through to someone who knew what they were talking about and was keen to help. We discussed the situation, she went off to do some digging, and phoned back (precisely as she had promised!) with the news that she had resolved the issue. I could go to university!

It’s possible I got a little emotional; I was genuinely happy, as I felt like, over last week, my plans had almost failed. So, to know that I could actually go was such a wonderful feeling. I received my student ID card, and I know my timetable for my first year.

I’ll be there for six years, as I’m studying part-time; I need to manage everything in my life, and I don’t want to risk the relationship I’ve been building with my son in order to put myself entirely first. It’s okay to carve out some time for me, but my relationship with Bryan is just as key; I will not be a distant father, I simply won’t.

On Sunday (the day this column is published by the Esteemed Editor), I’m going to Canterbury to get a couple of bits of admin sorted (nothing at all serious), and I get to show Bryan a bit more of the site – the library, etc. It’s nice to share that with my son, so he’s aware of what a university campus looks like; if he decides that a university career is for him, he’ll know a little about a university already. But it’s fine if he doesn’t; it’s his life, and I just want him to be happy.

On Monday coming, we have a little anniversary; it’s precisely four years since Bryan and I legally became a family. He’d already come home six months earlier, but the legal process took a little longer. On 18th September 2019, I had a phone call saying the judge had signed the paperwork, and we were our own unique family.

We like to celebrate it in some way every year; if we can, we’re going to go down to the beach and have fish and chips, just the two of us. If the weather’s turned, then we will shelter indoors – but the important thing is that we will be together. He’s growing up, so likes some time with his friends now (entirely understandable), but it’s a privilege that we still get time together – I don’t ever regret being a single dad. It’s a big responsibility, if you want to invest the time to do it properly, and I thoroughly cherish these precious years.

As my university career begins, I’ve had to give something up, sadly, and that is being a governor of Bryan’s secondary school. I took up the role when Bryan started year 7, but I was conscious – as I took on this challenge as well – that I couldn’t give everything the attention it deserved. But I wish the governing board well; it was an interesting challenge, and I loved being pushed.

But we really are entering a new chapter in our lives; Bryan will be a teenager next year, and I’m going to be a university student. It’s a unique challenge that I welcome, because I love learning and pushing myself to be better and to increase my ability to do something. I don’t know what we’ll all be doing in six years, but it’s going to be exciting finding out.


  1. Congratulations on gaining approval, one for attaining confirmation from the court and two for gaining entry to university. I myself wish to study law and have been given permission from Kent Uni to use their library facilities free of charge and whenever I wish.

    Re school governor: I myself was a school governor for which I found the experience very rewarding. However, I must admit I hated the Ofsted visit and I hated the experience of fighting the union concerning salary increases.

    • Glad the facilities university students have to fund are free to your good self .
      Why fight the union concerning salary increases – teaches funded their university library usage !

  2. Congratulations, however I do feel it’s wrong that so many people are funnelled into university to achieve their dreams but at a price of getting to into £40,000 / £50,000 ++ of debt. Yet then when hopefully they succeed and getting a well paid job they are taxed heavily and have to pay back the university fees. All that hard work stress and studies for what????

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