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NYSC: How To Maximize Your One Year As A 'Corper'

NYSC – The one-year mandatory national service imposed on young graduates below the age of 30, if you haven’t already gone through it you probably will soon. In the past, it was a period graduates looked forward to with high hopes of a better future, the same cannot be said today, many young people are inducted to and released from the scheme every year, a whole year, during which you are paid a token of 19800 every month before being released into a world filled with millions of unemployed graduates.
Many Corps members start to worry months before passing out because of the state of the country and fear that they are diving into the pool of unemployment like other graduates. Do you share that concern? Not to worry, keep reading, I’m confident the answers you seek lie in my next few paragraphs.

This secret has a lot to do with setting goals, want to know a few things about goals?
I’d like you to know that the ability to set goals as a young person is a superpower, and the bridge between goals and achievements is determination and discipline. It is easy to go through my next paragraphs and forget about them the moment you hit the last period. So before we proceed I want you to quietly mutter these words: “I am a thinker, a doer, an achiever, an excellent student of life and a valuable citizen of this country, I will make my youth service year a memorable one”. Having said those words, I have no doubt that you’re ready for the ride, come with me…

How then do you go about making your service year fruitful?

Now, this is often the hardest part, it usually hidden, a Corps member who served in Kaduna upon passing out said “What do you expect when corps members who are sent to communities where there is no life for a whole year and yet when they are through there is no employment, the whole thing is a waste of time.”

This is what most people say, but is it true? The answer is NO, the fact that you are made to serve in a place where nothing appears to be happening doesn’t mean that your whole year has to be a waste, look inwards, there is a skill to learn, a trade to engage in, books to read, preparations to make and relationships to build. I will treat these points one after the other for the sake of clarity.

You’re probably thinking “If I had a kobo for every time I have heard this…” But I tell you something, we learn every time whether we want to or not, no knowledge is useless, you are a young, educated and resilient Nigerian and you can learn anything, I repeat, anything within the space of a year, as long as you put your mind to it. Be it Fashion design, hair styling, cosmetology, food production or agriculture. You can take online professional courses such as customer relationship and entrepreneurial development courses to help facilitate the starting and running of your business after NYSC, and don’t forget to save a few bucks off your allawee for this purpose.

Products, especially farm produce vary in prices according to geographical locations, for example, Onions in the Northeast, Tubers in the Southwest, Tomatoes in the North West and some parts of the South-south, vegetables, and fruits in the Southeast and so on. Do you have a commodity that is slightly more expensive where you come from? Buy them from your state of deployment and these things can be transported to areas where they are not so cheap and sold for higher prices than they were purchased, this has made bucks for a number of youth corps members according to testimonies.

Over 50% of corps members do not intend to stop at B.Sc or HND as the case may be, are you one of such people? This is a good time to prepare your mind and heart for the postgraduate course of your choice, learn about it, pick an institution, talk to experienced adults, send in applications, acquire funding, you will find that this is enough to make you feel fulfilled at the end of your service year if done properly.

Did you know that how much you know is a reflection of how much you read? this could be your one year of knowledge acquisition, visit a library if you have access to one, and if you don’t, do not worry, most of those books are online anyway, see how the minds of these authors work, read about career, marriage, cultures and understand more about the world we live in, this will make you a more productive person at the end of your service year.

Finally and most importantly, meet people. I’m sure you have heard stories of people who met their spouses, business partners, and benefactors during their service year. Corps members have been deployed to your location from different parts of the country, with knowledge in different fields and influence in different places, why don’t you use this to your advantage? Make as many friends as you can, you never can tell who could be of help to you in the future.

So, prospective corps members, now that we know what to do, replace the pout with a grin and make sure NYSC can read you like a stop sign when you say to it – I’m coming!

Testimonies have been trooping in from readers of my previous editions on how these methods have worked for them, but a wise person knows that there is something to be learned from everyone, therefore my educated friend, if there is something you’d like to add or remove feel free to leave a comment in my comment box, I’m eager to hear what you think.

Writer: Bayo Akinfesola 
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