Tips for Fresh Corpers (Part I)
The NYSC service year is a debt many Nigerians must pay. It’s a unique debt because the creditor determines where the debt is paid without consulting you. For most Corps Members (Corpers), it involves a complete change of environment. Some city dwellers end up in rural or semi-rural places where they are expected to adapt and become part of a strange community until they get their certificate of discharge. So how can you make a success of it? Please read on.
During Orientation Camp: Pray for a ‘good’ posting. Notice that every posting is good. But prepare your mind. (Another post will provide tips on having an awesome camping experience)
Post Orientation Camp:
- If possible, stay with other Corpers, whether on your Place of Primary Assignment (PPA) premises or not. It could be a corpers’ Lodge built by the Government or your family House. (that is, NACC Family House for Catholic corpers, NCCF Family House for all other Christian corpers or MCAN Lodge for Muslim corpers)
- Information reaches you faster when you live with other than relying on a friend to call you on the phone. Your friend might run out of credit on his phone or even overlook you and you miss crucial information. You can even share expenses when you live together with others. More on that later.
- Security: It’s safer to live with other corpers especially in a town foreign town where you don’t fully understand their language or customs. Corpers who live alone are more prone to burglaries than others.
- Choose accommodation as close to your PPA as possible or even in the PPA. Corpers are liable to get broke, yet you have to report to your PPA. It is better if you can’t leave your PPA because you don’t have money than for you no to report to your PPA because you don’t have money.
- You are largely responsible for your own safety. As such, take it seriously.
- You are likely in a strange land and you don’t know the ways of the land. Be alert to any danger.
- If you live with other Corpers or the local people, make it a habit to make them aware of your whereabouts, even when you are quarreling. That’s to ensure you can be traced at any time. Forget about cell phones because network coverage may not be available in the bush you will end up in. Look out for one another, don’t exhibit I don’t care attitude. Don’t isolate yourself. You may be the one to call for help.
- Don’t stay out late at night, especially if you are a female Corper. What will you be looking for, anyway? You are likely to be the target of local thugs because you are a foreigner. Some communities even have practices that they carry out in the dark of the night. Stay indoors and don’t fall prey.
- Don’t flaunt your city goods. Blackberries may not mean anything to you but it’s a fortune to a local thug. Don’t carry laptop or shiny tablets about because you want to charge it. Don’t announce when you get your allowance. In short, don’t make yourself attractive to undesirable characters.
- Travel only when necessary. There are dangers on the road and across the waters (for those posted to riverine areas.). Robbers, kidnappers, sea pirates and accidents. Ajala has already travelled all over the world so stay put where you are serving your darling country and don’t become part of FRSC’s grim statistics.
Financials: Ways to cut costs.
- If you are in a local community, take advantage of market days. Things are usually cheaper and you can get fresh produce. Buy things in bulk with fellow Corpers and then share. You can also cook together, and rotate days to cook. It does save time and money.
- Avoid habits that consume money, e.g. drinking. Many Corpers will have to live on their allowance alone and remember it’s an allowance, not a salary. Nobody planned an extravagant service year for you. A few green bottles a day, for instance, impacts on your account balance.
- If you live far from ‘town’ where the market or bank is, form the habit of asking anybody going to ‘town’ to run errands for the rest of the house. You will save on transportation cost. But that means you too will be ready to help the others similarly. If you do go to ‘town’, don’t linger, the more time you spend, the more you buy.
- Don’t attempt to own everything other Corpers have. Or else you will get hypertension. You don’t know the financial status of their families. Don’t buy what you don’t really need. Don’t withdraw all your money at once. If you do, well, it may be ‘poof’ to all the money you have earned in a whole month.
- Yes, you are getting an allowance but you can still save. Cultivate the habit of saving, even if the amount is not much. The discipline you acquire will help you when you start to earn big.
- Satisfy every NYSC requirements so you don’t get disciplined.
- Be nice to other Corpers you come across. Lifetime friendships can grow during the few months you’ll spend together. You don’t even know whether NYSC has put you in the same PPA with a future president or first lady or minister. Or even a potential marriage mate.
- For the guys, don’t forget to carry your own hair clippers along. AIDS is Real.
- Still on the guys, watch yourself with the local ‘beauties’, whether they are your students or not. You have not been sent there to increase the population of the community illegally. Don’t give future Corpers a bad name.
- For the gals, don’t attempt to form any ‘biz geh’. Once you are in khaki, you are a Corper. Don’t snub anybody, you all get the same federal allowance.
- I hear Nokia have made a phone that can last 35 days on a single charge. Take one along. Who knows, you might end up in a community where power supply is terrible. If you can even get a spare battery, the better. You are assured of 70 days of juice.
- Do all the professional exams you can do. Many are discounted for corpers. One you get to camp, start making enquiries. There may be no such opportunities after service.
- Try to keep in touch with your family. They need to be reassured of your safety, especially your dear mother.
- Snap photos, NYSC is a once in a lifetime affair. You need reminders.
- Finally, you have gone for NYSC, not travelled abroad. So don’t come home with a foreign accent. LoL
Re-blogged from Sharp Corner
By @davidtayos, Ex #DELTAkopa
Got more tips in mind? Include them in the comments box below. I’ll attribute them to you in Part 2 of this post. Ajuwaya!