Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures

School of Music

Ramzy Alwakeel

Which degree did you do and when?

I did a BA in Music between 2006 and 2009. During that time I worked on the student paper Leeds Student, where I ended up becoming music editor. I also presented a radio show on LSR and volunteered at the record library.

I didn’t get so involved in extra-curricular stuff at the School of Music because I was more interested in writing than performing. That’s one reason I chose Leeds – performance isn’t compulsory and there are lots of opportunities to study the way music is used and created.

What have you done since graduation, and what are you planning next?

I now work as a reporter on the Romford Recorder, a regional paper in London. After graduating I worked in an NHS office for a year before realising I wanted to be a journalist. I spent a year doing an MA in Newspaper Journalism at UCLan in Preston, then spent another year working in a different but equally dull NHS office, before finally being offered the job I have now. Along the way I had a couple of academic articles published in Dancecult, a journal about club culture and dance music.

I take my journalism seniors in three months. If I pass those I’ll be a Senior Reporter (which is basically the same job but better paid). Eventually, and sort of inevitably, I reckon I’ll end up teaching, either music or journalism. Music journalism was always my first love but no one gets paid to do that any more.

How did your undergraduate experience help you to progress after University?

If I hadn’t joined Leeds Student I’d never have ended up doing what I am now. It gave me a taste for less academic writing, and taught me the joy of producing a weekly product under ludicrous deadlines.

At the moment you can’t become a journalist unless you have a postgraduate qualification so my degree at Leeds was a necessary stepping stone but wasn’t enough in itself to get me into the industry.

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