April 20, 2024

Unilagsun

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The ABC of being NYSC Ready

By Elizabeth Ukey and Muyibi Kafayat

As a fresh graduate, the next step on the agenda is obeying the “Clarion’s call” – the National Youth Service Corps. For some, this is a time to explore places that they otherwise wouldn’t dream of, while for others, it’s just a mandatory one-year service they have to endure. However, whether or not you like it, NYSC calls your name!

Preparing for the 3-week training camp might be daunting, but never fear, dear soon-to-be Corpers. This undergrad–who has been nowhere near the camp–scurried through the internet and pestered people who have experienced firsthand to put together the perfect list to help you adequately prepare for the camp. Will it be adequate, though? We’ll never know until you try, so let’s get right into it!

Let’s start with what will probably stress you the most: documents, documents, and even more documents. Brace yourself for the paperwork jungle! Gather your statement of result or certificate, school ID, call-up letter, green card, medical certificate of fitness, and passport photographs. If you’re anything like me, you’ll double-check these a million times before setting off to ensure they haven’t sprouted legs and scampered away. And to be extra safe, you might just want to make about ten photocopies each. Just kidding, but you get the drift.

Now, It’s Packing time! Pack all the necessities, but triple them. 

White shirt? Three for each day. 

White shorts? Three for each day.

Tennis shoes? This is neither the time nor place for fashion. Drop those Nikes and buy some proper rubber shoes. 

Socks? If you buy a dozen pairs, no one would judge. They’d probably be jealous of you.

Pack your mosquito net, bedding, towels, waist pouch, hats, and plenty of handkerchiefs because there will be enough sweat and tears to go around.

If, at this point, you still need me to remind you of power banks, padlocks, and bathroom slippers, then maybe you really aren’t ready.

Don’t forget your fancy attire for those “official” occasions, casual clothes for the daily grind, and that lucky charm you swear brings good vibes. 

You should throw in a few medications as well. Good ol’ paracetamol for after marching under the hot sun, fever reducers, VitaminC, diarrhoea medicine, cough medicine, pain relief patches, all the usual.

And then, if sunscreen and sunglasses aren’t at the top of your list for all the skincare enthusiasts, kindly hand in your badges; we don’t recognise you.

Moving on to food matters, which matters the most, unless you’re used to guiding with garri.

Pack many beverages to sweeten your coloured water (sorry, tea). Pack snacks as well, from Caprisun to cheeseballs to other chewables. Carry everything so you won’t finish your small ‘allawee’ in the mami market.

Speaking of money, while the government’s monthly allowance is a godsend, it won’t hurt to have separate funds for emergencies in case there’s a delay in the monthly allowance so hunger won’t finish you or when you see your favourite snack, and you will be able to satisfy your taste buds. It’s okay to carry cash of up to 20k. Anything more, and you’ll be a walking “rob me” sign. Carry your ATM cards and make transfers where necessary as well.

Furthermore, you might do better by embracing the chaos. Get ready to learn a new language and a new way of life so you won’t get lost in your Nysc posting area–or at least a few choice phrases that will guarantee giggles (or horrified stares) from the locals. Immerse yourself in their culture, go sightseeing, be a local hero, make yourself part of the community, and get involved. These people and that place will become home for the next 12 months. You might as well get comfortable.

Additionally, the fun and exciting part of NYSC is when you get to put on your social butterfly wings, make friends, influence people, and build connections with individuals or professionals from a diverse audience. You never know when you’ll meet your future business partner, arch-nemesis, or life partner. Perhaps a ‘How I met your father or mother?’ moment. 

Cute, right? If you open your mind about making friends, this is you. 

And finally, buckle up for an emotional rollercoaster! From moments of utter despair to fits of uncontrollable laughter, the service year will take you on a wild ride. There will be premium tears, but remember, it’s all part of the grand, absurd adventure.

So there you have it, corper-in-the-making! As you embark on this unpredictable journey called the NYSC, remember to pack your sense of humour alongside your mosquito net and flip-flops. With a dash of laughter and a sprinkle of absurdity, you’ll survive and thrive!

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