A Bounce Guide To Surviving NYSC Camp
Dapo is a 22-year old graduate of Lagos State University.
His parents are from Ogbomoso in Oyo state, but the farthest from Lagos he's ever been is Redemption Camp, located along the Lagos/Ibadan expressway.
By the end of today though, that will change. Dapo would have traveled over 1,300 kilometres across 2 days to arrive at Adamawa state where he has been posted for his mandatory one-year youth service.
Thus begins his, and thousands of other young Nigerian's journey to self-reliance.
In Nigeria, the one-year mandatory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme could be described as a rite of passage into adulthood.
For many, it is their first foray outside their home base, and for others yet, it is their first time in a different geopolitical zone of the country. Then, there are those who find love, and others whose career paths are forged from their service year.
Whatever side of the divide you may find yourself on, one thing holds true for NYSC - it is an unforgettable experience, and the 3-week stay in camp is the mother of all adventures.
As the NYSC Batch A Stream II exercise kicks off today, July 26th, we run through a list of things every prospective corp member should have in mind as they embark on this journey.
1. Be ready to struggle your way through: From securing a bed space to fetching water to bath, you haven't experienced camp if you haven't struggled your way through one queue or the other. There will be pushing, cursing and the occasional brawl. Keep your cool, stay focused and remember that it'll be all over in no time. A little humour also comes in handy in times like that. Don't come and go and kill yourself.
2. The rains will come, be ready: One of the biggest hurdles with a July camp is the rain. It comes down in torrents, not minding if you have a bed space or not. Infact, it's not unheard of for corpers to spend their first night outside under the rain, having failed to secure a bed space early enough. So, be prepared. Have an umbrella and possibly a rain coat, plus a water proof bag where you can keep your documents.
3. Always be on the look out for opportunities: There will be people from various organisations who come to camp for various talks including arms of international bodies, and corporate organisations who sometimes visit camp to scout for recruits. Participate actively in camp activities and never pass up on a chance to introduce yourself and get some contact details. You never know who or what could be instrumental to your career or even business; should you choose to tow that line.
4. Have a back-up: Given that it is the rainy season, it is absolutely important that you always have an extra pair of whites at every point in time. It's also advisably you have a solid power bank, as power is not promised.
5. Have your valuables on you at all times: This goes without saying. Ensure you have your cash and IDs on your person at all times, you never know who has itchy fingers.
6. Always carry your medical report with you if you have an allergy or ailment: Just like the point above, this goes without saying. Stories are abound of corp members who have lost their lives because soldiers didn't believe they had an ailment, or due to poor medical care. So always have your medical report with you, and carry your medication along with you always.
7. Camp food won't kill you: Except in some cases, camp food isn't as inedible as it's been made out to be. Conserve your funds and balance camp food with mami market food. It is however important to maintain one food vendor, rather than switch from one to the other. This is so that in the unfortunate event that you suffer food poisoning, you can attempt to track the source.
8. Learn a new skill: In the world today, employers want people who can bring value to an organisation, and with the internet, it's much easier to learn. Use this time out to learn something new. You'll find it most useful when you start to apply for jobs, or you can even make money from said skill while you serve. Also have books you can read, at least they don't require power.
9. Make new friends: Camp is filled with young people from across the country. What better opportunity is there to make friends from different tribes and religious affiliations? Be open to making new friends and learning about the different cultures that exist in our dear country.