After months of waiting, I finally received the clarion call, in the form of a call up letter, to serve my fatherland in Rivers State. In case you’re wondering, The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) is an organization set up by the Nigerian government to involve the country’s graduates in the development of the country (wikipedia).
It is mandatory and corps members are posted to various parts of the country to work. But first, they are to camp together in one location at their state of deployment for an orientation course, which usually lasts for 3 weeks. The NYSC permanent camp in Rivers State is located at Nonwa Gbam, Tai Local Government Area and it was pretty much easy to locate.
While there are a lot of tales about people’s camp experiences floating around the internet, there aren’t enough posts to guide one on how to make the most out of their stay in camp. On that note, this post will help you survive the NYSC camp. Please note that these tips aren’t exactly foolproof.
In no particular order, there are as follows;
BE PROPERLY INFORMED AND WELL PREPPED FROM HOME.
Ask questions and get properly educated from those that have
been there, done that. If possible, try to find one or two persons that have been posted to the same state as you. This will definitely make things easier for you. Please and please, go with a small luggage. Don’t be that person (a.k.a me) that went to camp with excess items that she didn’t even need in the end. Here’s a link to a blog post that will help you decide what you would need during your stay in camp.
BE PREPARED PHYSICALLY, MENTALLY AND SPIRITUALLY.
I cannot stress this enough. For the duration of your stay in camp, you’re going to experience what a military regime is like. You are going to be engaging in a lot of strenuous activities- morning drills, parades, and my least favorite, “double ups”. You will be made to stand and/or squat under the sun or in the rain. And so, you need to be physically okay for this.
In addition, you’re going to be living with people you have probably never met for 3 weeks, I mean people with diverse backgrounds and interests. You’re going to come in contact with the good, the bad and the ugly. If you aren’t mentally prepared for this, then you’re going to have a lot of bad experiences. I shouldn’t tell you the essence of being spiritually prepared, should I?
JOIN A GROUP
Whether it’s the dance troupe or band group, joining a group in camp will give you a sense of belonging. And the good part is there are a lot of groups for you to choose from. I was a member of the Orientation Broadcasting Service (OBS) and my job was basically to edit reports and produce worthy news from them. Believe me when I say some of my best moments were with the rest of the gang!
TRY OUT NEW THINGS
Take advantage of the new environment and try out things you probably never would. For me, the Man O’War drill was like a nightmare but imagine my surprise when I scaled through all the obstacles! (inserts fist bump). Other activities you can engage in include; pageantry, Mr Macho competition for the guys dem, relay races, cooking competitions and so on.
MAKE MEANINGFUL CONNECTIONS
You will find people that share the same interests with you. It’s a whole different world when you’re out of camp so try as much as possible to network with the people you see, make new friends and gain enough meaningful contacts. The only regret I have is not participating actively in inter platoon competitions. I wasn’t really known in my platoon (5) as I was almost always in the OBS studio.
In general, my camp experience wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. The soldiers weren’t as scary as I thought they would be and surprisingly, camp food was actually palatable. Another advice is that you don’t stress too much and just have fun. If you find out that you still hate it, remember it’s just for 21 days 😉Joining a group during your stay in camp will definitely guarantee some kind of fun for you! #camptales #lifestyleblogger Click To Tweet
So, I asked a few friends how their various camp experiences were and some of them were kind enough to provide answers. For Precious who camped in Jigawa, She had no regrets. In her words, “It was all perfect to the glory of God”. In fact, she rates the camp a solid 7. Another friend, Samuel, got posted to Ekiti. Although total discipline was ensured there, he had a good time as a quarter guard. The only regret he had was not knowing how to blow the trumpet or play drums, as he would have joined the band group.
Ehimare (Rivers State) had a similar experience but he wishes he had known about OBS before going to camp. He said, “I wish someone had told me about OBS. I work part time with an entertainment firm (TobbyExtrainment) in Benin and presenting is something I have always loved and I have always sorted for platforms to express myself . So assuming I was told about OBS earlier, that would have been the first place I’ll look out for when I got to camp”
However, not everyone had a good experience. Another friend, who I would like to keep anonymous, still suffers from PTSD as a result of his stay in the NYSC Edo camp.
In conclusion, don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Live, laugh and love during your stay in camp. It’s up to you to make your experience an unforgettable one and I hope this post has given you an insight on what to do 😉 Don’t forget to share your experience with me afterwards, I’ll be patiently waiting. God’s blessings always!
Are you currently serving or have gone through the NYSC scheme? What was your camp experience like? I’d love to know. Please leave a comment below, thank you!