NYSC- National Youth Service Corps, a 1-year programme for every Nigerian graduate is a period of vast experience for various participants of the programme. From being the beginning of a great life for some, it also happens to be the beginning or continuation of a not-so-great life for some. However, because life is to every man his own, as a corp member, you have the power to define what your NYSC year will look like and if you desire to have a memorable NYSC year, below is a list of 8 amazing things you can do during your NYSC.
“Be it time, money or people, always try your best to make the best of every opportunity.“
List of amazing things You Can Do During NYSC to Maximise Opportunity:
In my case, considering that my primary place of assignment was a secondary school and I was an agricultural science teacher who taught about 7-9 classes every week, I had pretty much time on me and either one at a time or simultaneously, I engaged in the following activities which I totally consider amazing things for you to do during NYSC as they could drive you closer to your dreams and help you become a better person in general:
- Take professional courses related to your field: During NYSC, you will come across tutors offering different kinds of courses such as Project Management, Human Resource Management, Web Development, Designs etc. If you find a course relevant to your field and you are able to prove that the tutor is rightly certified, I urge you to take these courses. In my case, I didn’t find any of the courses advertised interesting. Instead, I searched the internet for MOOC that are relevant and I enrolled for courses on Coursera. Either you choose online or offline, just make sure that you learn and advance yourself.
- Prepare applications and pursue further studies: If you love academics like me, this is the time to prepare your applications and plan for your further studies. In fact, in Nigeria where the first degree is as good as a pot of beans, I consider it a good initiative to pursue further studies after NYSC so as to avail yourself better income opportunities.
- Gather your qualifications for International Pursuit: This is more considerable for someone interested in pursuing further studies because, getting international jobs require certain level of experience which a recent graduate might not have. Whatever the case may be of your international pursuit, this is the time to get your transcripts, certificates and prepare for necessary exams such as a GRE or some language tests. Scout for the institutions you will like to join and begin to prepare yourself.
- Volunteer some of your time for non-profit. How do I mean? If you belong to a humanitarian or religious group, volunteer your time to impact your group. Join organizations that address a cause that you are passionate about and indeed use your time to help humanity. You will feel fulfilled afterwards.
- Learn a skill or start a business: A friend of mine started her clothing line during NYSC. I set out to work of FarmRecruits during NYSC, some other people learnt the skill with which they now make money. NYSC is much more than a free time to play around. It is a period of Inter-Mission just like in Indian movies and you can choose to use this period to shapen your future or at least get yourself busy before your dreams come through. You need money and this period is a good time to think about how to make money.
Working on FarmRecruits has been rough but, I get super excited whenever someone gets a job or an employer gets workers through the platform.
- Socialize: This period is a time when you have the opportunity to meet new people and bond with them because of the time available. So, don’t lock yourself up indoors all year long. Socialize. You don’t know who is going to connect you to an opportunity in future or provide shelter for you when you are in a strange city.
- If you are single, attempt to meet the love of your life. I don’t know how this works but I have heard of people who met the love of the lives during NYSC. Who knows maybe you’ll be one of these persons? I actually attempted this but failed woefully!
- If your NYSC year coincides with the election year just like mine, participate in the electioneering process. It is usually a fascinating but stressful experience.
At first, I was scared to participate considering the insecurity and lack of life insurance whatsoever in Nigeria. In fact, I planned not to participate. However, during the orientation programme, there was little to no opportunity for anyone to decide on not participating; it was made mandatory. I participated in three elections, a bye-election for the house of representative, a governorship election and a presidential election.
The bye-election took place around November 2018 while the other two took place in 2019. The bye-election happened in few states and local government, thus, compared to a great number of other corp members, I had a rehearsal of what to look forward to in the governorship and presidential elections.
To let you know the depth of corruption and how less the security system in Nigeria cares about you, it saddens my heart that on the day of this election of the house of representatives, security officials allocated to my unit balled out, leaving myself – the presiding officer and the other corp members during a moment of chaos caused by some thugs.
The election system in Nigeria follows a process whereby a citizen who has their name of the voting register verifies their details and registration by placing a finger on a card reader which accredits or nulls their opportunity to vote.
If you are accredited, you are allowed to vote. Otherwise, you are asked to leave the polling point. This way, no one can vote twice because the card reader detects wrong finger identity vs. card details of an individual and also accredits an identity just once. So, if you have voted and you return to the polling unit, get scanned by the reader, it notifies the operator that you have already been accredited and cannot be accredited again. Thus, you are disqualified from voting.
This was the process which my team adhered strictly to, only for some guys to appear and accuse us of allowing people to vote twice. Okay, I was shocked but I kept calm because unruliness is not totally impossible in any society. Also, these guys have come with an accusation that I can defend so, I simply proceeded to explain to them what the process was and how we have not allowed any individual to vote twice.
Somehow, the issue escalated and a group of thugs stormed the scene. Then, the police officer in charge informed me to stand up and guard my ballot box. Honestly, we had been warned not to try to protect the ballot box over our lives but my reflex immediately got up and went to stand by the box. It was totally dumb but at that moment, I didn’t think so.
It was when I went back to my seat that my colleagues looked at me and asked why I did that. Then, it dawned on me that anything could have happened to me at that point while I stood by the box and it was not my duty to have done that, it was the duty of the police officer. But she balled out and pushed me to face danger.
That experience was scary and it didn’t end there. At the end of the voting process, the police officer left us alone to some guys who almost took us to a wrong destination but, we were quick to identify that the bus that came to ask us to move had no INEC label and so despite their cajoles, the corp members and I, with the voting materials, waited till we saw our bus and the unit supervisor.
The other two elections went quite smoothly and I wasn’t the presiding officer. I was assistant and didn’t have to do the job of a police officer.
So, if you get to serve at a time of the election, participate. It can be really exciting but make sure you don’t act dumb like me, trying to save a ballot box. You could get hurt.
Overall, I had a nice memorable youth service. Asides the election part, I like to think that I used my NYSC days to prepare for the next phase of my life and I believe that you can do the same. NYSC gives you time to explore and prepare for the future that is to come. It is the time you have to plan and gather new skills or try new ideas that might or might not work out. So, don’t be lax and don’t be closed. Open your mind to new ideas and possibilities that will make your NYSC great.
Read about my superhero NYSC experience with the young primary schoolboy here.
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