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Rockhaq | March 22, 2017

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English Student Interview: Sam Brookes

English Student Interview: Sam's vinyl record collection
Michelle Dhillon
Welcome to our English student interview. This is part of a series of interviews we’re running with Rockhaq pilot students. Although we’ve just relaunched the Rockhaq community, the project was first piloted in 2011-2012 with students from colleges in Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire. We’re amazed to see that some of these original pilot students have returned to the new community, and to hear that they missed it when it was no longer around. We thought some of you would like to hear how Rockhaq helped a pupil studying A Level English, hence this English student interview.
English Student Interview
One of these pilot students is Sam Brookes, who joined the Rockhaq community when he was studying A Level English at Regent College in Leicester. This makes him the ideal candidate for our English student interview! We have more coming up with Music and Media students. We featured Sam in a case study during our pilot. In the meantime, we caught up with Sam to ask what he’s upto now and what impact the Rockhaq community had on him from 2012 through to 2016. We’d also like to say a big thanks for Sam’s contribution to the community over the years, and we’re genuinely pleased to welcome him back 😀

Q1. When and where were you first introduced to the Rockhaq community?
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I was introduced to the Rockhaq community through my college back in 2012. My English teacher knew I was interested in writing in my spare time and told me that she had invited Rockhaq into the college and that they were accepting writers.
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Q2. How much effort did you put into writing before Rockhaq?
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Before Rockhaq, I was writing mostly in my spare time but because I didn’t have an outlet or audience for my writing, I often wouldn’t finish what I started, and when I did, I didn’t do anything with it. My grammar, punctuation and spelling were OK, if a little careless.
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Q3. And how much effort did you put into writing after Rockhaq?
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After Rockhaq my spelling and grammar improved. I learnt the importance of spell checking and writing for an audience. Rockhaq also inspired me to take my writing off my word documents and onto my own blog.
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Q4. What are the BEST and WORST things about Rockhaq?
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Best
  • It improves your spelling and vocabulary.
  • It offers once in a lifetime opportunities to interview and meet bands. This is not a common thing.
  • It allows kids to hone their writing craft, which is beneficial for their exams and school work. It also introduces to a career possibility, and due to the work that goes into becoming a journalist, it’s important that they think about it now.
  • It’s an outlet for those of us who like to voice our opinion on music to a like-minded audience.
Worst
  • It can be addictive. I found myself working articles when really I should have been revising. At the end of the day I got my A Levels so it didn’t have that much of an impact.
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Q5. What difference has Rockhaq made to your life/work/education prospects? Was it positive or negative?
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Massively positive. My writing is my livelihood but I would never have gained the confidence I needed to write professionally if it hadn’t been for Rockhaq. I also wouldn’t run and write for my own blog, if I hadn’t been inspired to by Rockhaq.
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Q6. Has Rockhaq made any lasting changes to how you write? 
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It’s made me more critical of the things I enjoy but in a positive way. Sometimes things need to be glorified or vilified, and Rockhaq taught me how to express myself. It also gave me a deeper passion for music which I enjoy now on more than one level.
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Q7. What do you think could be improved about Rockhaq?
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The only thing that could improve Rockhaq right now is more content, but obviously you’re going to see Moat in a few weeks. Once there are regular contributors the place will liven up a bit. I did miss it when I left and hope that it’ll continue to be around for as long as possible.
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Q8. Is there anything else you’d like to say?
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Just that it’s good to be back!
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It’s great to see you back too, Sam! Visit Sam’s profile to see his extremely large collection of Rockhaq reviews. Thanks to him and to you for reading our English student interview. Watch out for others, coming soon!
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