A lot of young Nigerians count NYSC a waste of 1 year from their lives. What about you? What do you think about NYSC?
I will share a few thoughts with you from my lessons and experiences spending ONE year at the Mandatory NYSC at Anambra State. Hoping it will help young and fresh graduates navigate through the mostly assumed time wasting scheme.
The first time I wrote this was in 2019 when few of my mentees were posted to a state they didn’t like. I try revisiting my ideas to add one a few updates.
Before I go on, I want to still maintain my standpoint that NYSC will only be a waste of time if you make it so. Remember this wise saying:
You can’t control what life throws at you, but you can control how you respond to it!
I so much believe in living intentionally.
NYSC means National Youth Service Corps and since it is still MANDATORY, it will only empower you when you think of how you respond to it.
First, I assume the culmination of your years in the higher institution and the few months you’ve spent at home while waiting for NYSC Posting, should have helped you understand yourself, your identity and your career path. You should have some form of clarity about your life. For me this is always the foundation of life and living intentionally. If you don’t know what you want, how will you know how to pursue it?
So, your 1 year in NYSC starts having meaning when your life has a meaning. Do you get that? NYSC doesn’t give meaning to your life, you do so.
NYSC gives you the opportunity to roll up sleeves and start threading the path you found, by gaining relevant knowledge, skills and attitudes.
But this is only for the mind that is Open to new ideas and possibilities, not one that is soaked with the complaints for this generation and nation we live in.
From your orientation camp, NYSC already offers you the opportunity to meet people from different backgrounds, cultures and ideologies and connect with them to increase your learning. I believe as you grow from 100 level to final year and now NYSC you keep building purposeful networks.
Networking is a crucial resource for life. You should perfect that learning during your NYSC period.
Secondly, there are various learning Points on camp, in the midst of the frustrating physical activities.
You will find relevant and irrelevant courses being marketed on camp. For example, someone who wants to pursue a career in HR would meet CIPM guys around marketing the HR Certification Program, It may be irrelevant to someone else in a totally different field. I believe professional certifications should be specific to your career needs, and should match up the knowledge and skills you have.
Pursue the knowledge, not just the paper or certificate!
These professional courses come at a Subsidized Corpers price. If you don’t take advantage of them, you may pay more after NYSC. I’m speaking from experience.
I did two professional courses that upgraded my understanding of Strategic Management and Customer Relationship Management.
I only regret not doing CIPM at that time because I missed out on their presentation on camp. I got to learn about CIPM when I was two months away from passing out of camp.
If I had started my CIPM certification program from NYSC I would have collapsed the time and finished the various diet earlier than I did. So learn from me.
Once you make up your mind on what your next steps is, start early. Most relevant certifications takes time and many exams, starting early gives you and advantage.
Thirdly, find how to develop skills. You double your success rate through skills, not just theoretical knowledge. Schools teach theories, but you must develop your own curriculum to convert those knowledge into skills.
In the state you are posted to, what can you do that would help you develop your skills in line with your career aspirations? What can you do that will make a significant addition to your CV after NYSC? Can you dedicate some days for internship elsewhere if you were posted to a different place of primary assignment? Can you dedicate your weekends? or can you find some online support task?
As long as it is in line with your career aspirations, the time to develop skills is now not when you pass out. Start early. Sit down and develop a strategy for yourself. If you need help and you want me to have a strategy session with you, shoot me a mail.
There are Hands on skills you can learn too from the Skill Acquisition program called SAED. If it meets your chosen career path, start little from the camp.
Forget the bees, focus on the honey!
Fourthly, NYSC is the National Youth SERVICE Corps.
The emphasis is on service, so don’t ever assume your allawee is your salary. It’s only a stipend to show appreciation. Yeah!!!
Ensure you do well to SERVE. If you are not interested in service, you are not interested in greatness.
The famous Martin Luther King Jr inspires me with his quote – everyone can be great because everybody can serve.
Let me talk about Service a bit.
Service simply means SOLVE PROBLEMS.
Trust me, you’ll encounter a lot of them, these problems are there to help you gather the experience you’ll need in any Job Or business you want to venture into. It will also help you build the right habit and attitude to work and for success in the workplace or marketplace.
If you’re posted to teach, TEACH with the attitude of service. Think of those students as your younger ones, the future of our nation!
The bible teaches a great principle; He that must be greatest must serve!
NYSC is a good platform.
There’s something called Community Development Service (CDS).
Many corpers use it for gist time. Don’t fall into that trap. It helped me great deal. As a member of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), it availed me opportunities to speak on things that interest me, to people and students thereby improving and mastering my public speaking skills and confidence. Everybody need this skill. Use NYSC to build it.
Join an organization. Take leadership roles. You don’t have to be able at first, learn it, do it, be afraid and learn on the job. Your tomorrow needs it!
Define this 1year. Have a goal. What do you want to do after NYSC? It will determine what you should do during this 1year.
Above all else, be open minded. Be safety conscious, no government owns your life. You own it.
I hope this helps!
What do you plan to do before your Service year ends? Share in the comment section.
If you need to have a strategy session with me, send a mail