Matthew Munson: I am now a university student

Life on campus for Matthew

I went to university this week; I actually went, and started studying. Well, it was an introduction week, where you get introduced to the course as a first-year student – which, as a part-time student, I will be for the next two years.

I felt quite nervous on the first day. I wanted to make a good impression and try to remember as much of the introduction as I possibly could. It’s not possible to remember, of course, and I have to remember that more than anything; I know where to go for information, and who to talk to, so when I realise there’s something I don’t know, I can find out.

The campus itself is huge, and it’s just plain busy. When I was 18, that was just too much for me to deal with; I didn’t like crowds very much back then. I still don’t now, but the dislike has lessened, and I can manage my nervousness a lot more. I feel more confident now as a person than when I was 18, so this feels like the right decision – to have waited and gone to university when I was older and (I hope) wiser.

Next week, we start the actual lessons, which is exciting; I want to learn as much as possible. I might have been published in the past, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have more to learn; I’ve got a lot more to absorb. I’ll be a better writer as a result of absorbing more ideas, and having my writing style challenged and questioned; why do you do this? Can you do something a different way? I like being challenged, because it makes me challenge my own views. Can I defend them – or do I really need to think again?

Learning should never stop; I couldn’t bear the thought of ever thinking that I knew everything there was possible to know about a subject. I always emphasise that point to Bryan; school is a brilliant repository for knowledge, and it is a lovely place to begin the journey of learning – but it’s nice to embrace learning as the world around us changes, whether we like it or not.

When I was at school, computers were these rarified devices that were few and far between. I remember my dad getting a laptop for the first time when I was a teenager, and it was this relatively low-powered, boxy thing – and it was such a strange thing to behold. But now, they’re everywhere; I’m writing this column on a laptop, and my mobile phone is more powerful than the computers on the manned moon missions.

I started work as technology started to come into its own; things were being digitised, and computers were getting slimmer and slimmer, and faster and faster. I embraced the opportunity to go on some courses through work, because I hadn’t used technology a huge amount at school; it just wasn’t that present back then.

I don’t pretend to be a huge technology user; I can use a mobile phone and a laptop well enough, but I’ve never been interested in coding or building PCs from the ground up. Bryan is much more of a digital native; he is growing up in that kind of world, and I see him moving around on a screen far faster than I ever could. I certainly have learnt a lot of tips and hints from him.

So yes, I am now a fully-fledged university student. It still feels a bit odd to say that; I had nearly missed out on the opportunity, but it pulled through at the last hurdle. I’m looking forward to learning a lot more during my six years over in Canterbury. Now that I’ve seen the lesson plans and the university, I’m far more hopeful that I can balance fatherhood (the most important role I’ll ever have), my job, and my studies. There might be the odd blip along the way, but that’s life – I’ll adjust to them, because blips happen. It’s how you deal with them that counts, and if I’m still learning, then I can’t wait to face the future.


    • One thing I cannot stand is unjustified criticism from those who fail to understand exactly what constitutes a column, either in a newspaper or online. I would have thought this would have been obvious even to the most myopic.

    • Clearly, an opinion piece is going to consist of one person’s opinions, and autobiographical details are often,if not always, going to be included. As Matthew Munson’s piece is an opinion piece, that’s what the reader is going to find in it.

      Not interested in that sort of writing? Don’t approve of it? Then don’t even look at it, let alone read it.

  1. Well done Sir, I wish you the very best for your future journey, both with your son and at Uni, those that are not interested, don’t read just to criticise, just don’t read.

  2. I enjoy your column Matthew; there’s always something positive to take away! Thank you and good luck with your studies.

  3. The big question is, who are you and what is your call to fame? People who persistently write about themselves, every minute detail and inconsequential act, must be totally egocentric.
    Why do I respond like this? Because you need to be told before you kill off all of us with this earth-shattering boredom. You ramble and you self-indulge. Please go away. It is not journalism.

    • It is now quite clear from your latest moronic offering that you still lack the intellect to understand the nature of what Matthew is doing for the Isle of Thanet News. He was commissioned by the editor to write a column about everyday events in his life, something he has done successfully for a number of years to the complete satisfaction of the editor and provoking numerous tributes from readers. It is also worth pointing out that his column earned Matthew a highly commended award in the Kent Journalist of the Year competition. So he must be doing something right.It clearly IS journalism – take my word for it – but if you do not like what he writes, then don’t read it.

      • I don’t read it, at least not in its entirety. I get the gist from the start then quickly realise the nature of this self-absorbent meandering.
        Lots of people get awards for the most banal activity and British journalism is hardly anything to shout home about. Hounding people in order to get some sensational exclusive. It is a form of literary prostitution. I despise journalism in this country.

        • There is nothing I enjoy more than engaging in robust argument with anyone whose sincerely-held position on a particular issue is divergent to mine. I like to believe they respect my opinion as much as I do theirs in order to make for a healthy, intelligent debate.Then there is Robert Edwards, a correspondent who seems totally unable to grasp how to participate in the cut and thrust of reasoned argument. There are none so deaf as those who do not listen so I no longer have the patience to prolong this debate. Exit.

          • Nigel – I would ignore ignorant clowns such as Mr Edwards – obviously does not get out much and picks on Mathew whose excellent work is recognised. I enjoy his described journey with his son and only see positives. Wind up merchants such as Mr Edwards have probably achieved nothing in life, hence his bitter rantings.

    • As such, a personal monologue has nothing to do with the rest of us and is therefore of little relevance except to the author.
      Ignorant clowns like me, FedupB, are entitled to an opinion and to express it. You might not like my opinion but at least I have the integrity to hold one. When I first encountered Matthew Munson’s monologues my first thought is, is this news, which is what I expected on here. Only now am I expressing a criticism of the inclusion of these personal monologues. I do this reluctantly but with complete honesty.

  4. This could run and run. Carry on gents, very entertaining, certainly brightened up my day. I’ll give my verdict in due course.

    • Adjudicator, can you describe a columnist according to the rules of Nigel Munson?
      Otherwise you will be consigned to the netherworld of the permanently brain damaged as I was.
      Otherwise, let us all rejoice in the hope of reading the real local news on here instead of personalised egomania.

        • Kathy, your site is titled Isle of Thanet News. It is news that interests me.
          Anything else is something else. Long monologues of highly personalised autobiography are not of interest to most people because such content is too personal. They can not connect. I can’t, for one.

          • Some people like columns, some don’t. Some want to know about events or exhibitions, others don’t. The same applies to the political viewpoints. Skip it if it isn’t to your taste.

  5. Robert. Stop being nasty about Matthew. He’s a lovely kind chap and is making a difference to the world by being a good dad.
    Kathy. Just stop calling Matthew’s piece ‘Opinion’. That would be Matthew’s views on Manston, or immigrants, which would get everyone even more angry. How about just calling it ‘The Life of Bryan. And me’
    Nigel. Matthew is over 40 now and doesn’t need his old dad sticking up for him (I assume you are his dad, if not I apologise).
    Matthew. Keep up the good work with Bryan, you’re doing a great job. But if you are at university learning how to hone your writing, can you stop using bloody semi colons every bloody paragraph, I find it really annoying!
    Exit. Stage left. Pursued by a semi colon;

    • Yes, Matthew is my son and I am proud of what he has achieved in life, most emphatically in his late role as a father. He is
      of course, perfectly capable of defending himself but I simply was not prepared to remain silent when he is subjected to a grossly unfair critique of his writing and highly derogatory comments about his personality and integrity. A line was crossed.

  6. Thanks Matthew, it’s good to hear about someone’s experiences, and I hope your column inspires others who might be nervous about heading for higher education at an older age.

  7. Ha ha ha! Is that the best you can do?
    This from a small-time local jounalist who worked for Adscene in the 1990s.
    Come on, you can do better than that.
    Anyway, I thought you were not engaging with me anymore.

    • As usual, you are off-target. Adscene was just part of my career. I also worked for two county group newspapers – chief reporter, sports editor – and was a stringer for the Sunday Times and the Daily Express group for more than 20 years. So there!

      • I was clearly on target. I simply stated you worked for Adscene. Which is true.
        Saying “so there” is very childish. A bit like “Na Na NaNaNa”. Back to the school playground, eh?

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