Matthew Munson: Heading back to university

Matthew and Bryan

In a couple of weeks, I go back to university after what feels like an eternity but, in reality, is only a couple of months.

University breaks are longer than I’d realised and I’ve missed learning. It does give me an appreciation for other things I can get done while I’m off, though; work different hours, catch up with friends, find innumerable other ways in which I can occupy myself. I somehow get to the end of each day and then still have things I can think of doing, which is a blessing in disguise.

This term, I’m going to be doing just one module (the full-time students will be doing three), and it’s one I’m less confident on – poetry. Gulp. I say that not because I actively dislike poetry, but because I’m not particularly excited about it one way or the other. I don’t have any particular passion for that kind of writing – and so, I think, it’s undoubtedly a good thing that my course is doing a module on it, as it’ll push me out of my comfort zone.

I remember a friend gave me a couple of poetry books once, and I actually enjoyed reading them. One was a series of brilliantly funny poems about the people you’d meet on the London Underground, and I wish I could do it more justice than that; honestly, it was very funny. I’m ashamed to admit that I can’t remember what the other book of poems was about, I don’t have it on my bookshelves anymore. That’s a damn shame, and I wish I could find both of them.

But other than that, I’ve never willingly read poetry in my life. There, I said it. Mea culpa. Thanet has a host of poets living locally, and I know there are evenings where poetry is read aloud, but I’ve never been. Perhaps I should. I’m not saying any of this to revel in my ignorance, merely admit to it, and say just how much my next module at university will push me.

I’ve mentioned this to a couple of friends, and they’ve agreed that it’s good to push yourself occasionally, and this will be one of those times. I was delighted with the grades I’ve got so far, but I’ve been more confident in the modules. In this one, I’ll be working entirely from nothing – no experience, no previous knowledge, and that’s the benefit of this degree. It’s going to teach me things I don’t know; perhaps it’ll open my eyes to some poetry that connects with me somehow. Even if I don’t end up being poetry’s biggest fan, perhaps I’ll end up enjoying some poets and having a deeper appreciation of the genre.

Of course, I’ll also be expected to write some poetry for the module assessment, and that’s something I’ll really need to work hard on to make it at least passable. But as I’m always telling Bryan, you don’t know until you try, and I need to live and breathe that as much as keep lecturing my son on the very same thing.

My lad is supportive of my studies; it intrigues him, I think, and makes him aware that there’s a lot of opportunities out there to study and keep learning. He would choose a writing course like mine, but his dance abilities are his passion. Right now, he tells me that he wants to be a dancer when he’s older, and with his skills and determination, he’ll certainly stand a good chance.

He spends some time most evenings practising a particular trick or move or dance, and I can only watch in amazement at the fluidity of his movements. I do not have any dance skills at all; what I lack in coordination, I make up for in a willingness to cheer my son on from the sidelines. He’s certainly learning that hard work pays off; as he sees his dancing improve with his practice and his lessons at a dance school, he learns how to fan the flames of a passion. I am incredibly proud, of course.

I would support my son no matter what interests he had, and no matter what career path he was interested in, but I’m certainly fascinated by the world he’s choosing right now. He comes out of his lessons truly buzzing with excitement, and if you’ve found your passion, how could you possibly knock that level of energy?


  1. I think there are far too many people going to university. No wonder there’s a labour shortage. There’s good apprenticeship schemes learning on the job hands-on where one can gain a good income with no student fees to pay off at a later date if you don’t much money after going to university, you don’t have to pay back the student fees but what’s the point in going to university and then just having a low paid job universities are laughing all the way to the bank, farmers and other industries are crying out for labour. Of course Brexit is not helped, but nonetheless we are where we are.

  2. Bill – oh dear. What have your distorted views got to do with Mr Munson and his son? I look forward to his offering each Sunday on his experiences of raising his son and improving his education fairly late in life. A university education is a choice with expenditure to be assessed before committing. Apprenticeship schemes are limited in Thanet. You talk of a labour shortage in Thanet, take a look around you with lazy good for nothing louts everywhere. Meanwhile Mr Mason, ignore the views of the idiots and I wish you and your son every success

  3. This site has corrupt tendencies only opinions that suit are published other comments are blocked. I can have letters published in the times-guardian – Mail-daily Mirror- telegraph.
    Yet on here my comments are blocked.

  4. There is not a labour shortage, just a miss-allocation of resources, and a lack of investment.
    Apprenticeships are valuable, but so is life long leaning and ‘F.E’ of all kinds.Ignorance is not bliss, and Britain might not be so broken, if life long learning was a reality.
    Bill, complaints about censorship and ‘being blocked’, might be because you have transgressed on some points of fair comment,defamation and tolerance.I suspect if you keep to the point and do not break the terms of engagement you will be OK. You might get away with rough house tactics on social media, but not it appears, here.

Comments are closed.