Have you been called to serve for NYSC or you’re awaiting the clarion call with no idea what to expect? Well I’m here to give you some solid tips to get you through the 3 weeks of camp life especially. A few extra tips might still be helpful for post-camp, keep reading to find out.
I’m currently still “serving my country”. I hope I don’t get discovered with this post cause I’m going to keep it super real with you.
Expect nothing to go right or be on time.
This was the first lesson I had to learn and it was on the very first day of starting this NYSC process. That initial biometrics registration when the portal opens.
First of all, there were many rumors on when the portal would actually open but filter through for only the reliable sources. I had all my documents well prepared before time, because my Mum was persistent about that. I suggest you get everything you need before time. The list of documents to be uploaded for foreign students are here.
I went to the cyber cafe bright and early by like 8am cause I wanted to be the first in line. Guess what time your girl was proper done done? By like 8pm/9pm. Just go with snacks or eat before you go.
Yes, I spent the whole day there and I was shocked cause I didn’t expect it to be that bad. Just know, it’s difficult to plan your life around things involving NYSC.
Always be prepared to wait and wait some more because you can never really tell when it comes to NYSC.
Sit Down! Be Humble
This has nothing to do with sitting down but yes being humble is the focal point (couldn’t resist using the Kendrick Lamar line). Now as a fresh graduate you’re probably thinking that you deserve accolades cause you’ve paid your dues by successfully graduating.
But when you go to camp just drop that pride at home. It really won’t be needed or necessary. You’re at the bottom of the power chain at camp, best believe they won’t fail to remind you of this.
To avoid drama, punishment or unnecessary wahala just be as polite as possible to all NYSC officials and para-military bodies (they are many) at camp. Expect to be provoked or triggered by anyone because you never know who can decide to pick on you.
However, if it is getting out of hand like the bullying is very unnecessary or sexual harassment is getting stressful please change it for them (that is stand up for yourself). There might be repercussions for your actions so be ready to deal with it if you, do decide to go off on any of them.
I never had to make this decision because I stayed calm always, was too sleep deprived to get that triggered.
Feeling sleep deprived throughout the 3 weeks.
I had never in my adult life been as sleep deprived as I felt in camp for those 3 weeks. Before, I went to camp I already heard we would have to wake up as early as 4am/5am which I was mentally preparing myself for.
However, you can imagine my shock when the first day I discovered we were meant to be OUT ON THE PARADE GROUND BY 4AM. Which meant I had to wake up before 4, so yes I wasn’t pleased at all.
I had to catch myself from falling down during the morning prayers because I used to doze standing. During lectures, whether I sat inside or outside I found a way to sleep.
One time, I even slept at one restaurant in mammy market it was hot and noisy but mans must sleep.
After being a good girl for like the first week and a half, I started skipping morning parade so I could sleep in the clinic. Just be prepared to be very tired and sleep deprived.
Beware of scammers and people trying to make money off you
Now people are going to be out there selling dreams about being able to help you change your PPA (Place of primary assignment i.e. where you’re posted to work for the whole year). Or help you get redeployed (I.e. change the state you were posted to serve in).
But most of them don’t have any authority or control over that. Only some of the NYSC officials and the big Oga’s in the army can help. Please be wary of the lying ones, some of them would tell you these lies cause they want to sleep with you or cause they want to get money from you.
It isn’t so tough to get redeployed while in camp just write a letter to your state coordinator giving a health related, family or security issue but having proof to back it up.
So if you’re going to be do health-related and you really don’t have one. You might want to pay someone to give you a good and believable doctor’s report to back up your letter. This doesn’t cost as much, as people charge for working your redeployment so don’t be scammed.
As regards to working where you want to, it’s better if you have connects in the place you want to serve. They can work on having you on their acceptance list.
Also, during my camp it was announced several times that if we had a PPA that already wanted us we could go to the camp secretariat to work that out. This won’t involve paying any money so just plan ahead if you can.
NOW FOR SOME CAMP LIFE SURVIVAL TOOLS
You need a Toilet starter kit
Now most camps have terrible toilet and bathroom facilities but let’s focus on the toilets.
You need some essentials in your toilet starter kit so you don’t catch diseases and all that. These include wipes, tissue paper, disinfectant, hand sanitizer, old newspapers, small black nylons or big ones.
Going into details of how you make use of all these things really depends on which camp you go to. I went to FCT camp and fortunately our toilets weren’t that bad in my own hostel though.
Atleast they were useable but I know that’s not everyone’s story, so just prepare yourself with all these tools before you go. Some people decide to not even take a shit at all, personally I can’t be doing that holding it in life.
If you can, then Goodluck to you. If you can’t just have all these things in a good quantity.
Stay Woke! Niggas creeping
Now you have to always be alert in camp because people be stealing anyhow and at all times. Let your fanny pack be like a part of your body during camp. Take it everywhere and anywhere.
If you’re taking a smartphone be extra careful with that device never leave it unattended. Get padlocks for all your belongings. In case you don’t have a locker cause I didn’t. I had a padlock for all the compartments of my box.
I think I was even extra and padlocked my buckets one time LOL. Write your name or number on all your stuff so you can catch anyone trying to be smart, red-handed.
Just be careful and cautious at all times, your money too. Don’t have very large sums with you at all times, because besides you spending it quickly someone might be trying to steal from you. New friends and strangers included.
Create a sustainable eating plan
Eating food at camp you have a lot of options because Mammy market is packed with restaurants/bukkas and the like. Camp does provide breakfast, lunch & dinner.
At my camp I ate the camp food a few times because it wasn’t always bad. Sometimes it was actually good (but I cannot vouch for all camps in this regards).
I had some friends that found other coping mechanisms, some found one restaurant in the market that they trusted their food or liked and stuck to eating all their meals there.
I had another friend who was so terrified of the food made at the mammy market that she bought indomie & water everyday so she could be sure of the source of what she ate. You can do whatever works for you, just be wise with your money so you’re not broke too soon.
I usually set a budget for my meals most days and tried to stay within that budget, obviously some days I went past it but having a budget just helped me not to get too crazy.
It is very essential to take enough money to camp. There are a lot of activities so you would probably eat more than you usually do.
Plus, everything at Mammy market is overpriced so just take enough cash to sort yourself out comfortably. I suggest a minimum of 30,000 NGN for starters but take more if you need to.
Having a power bank and a designated charging guy is key
Most camp hostels don’t have working sockets in your rooms plus there isn’t always power. There was not even one socket in my room so I had to always charge at the mammy market. I had a power bank so I rarely ever left my phone to charge with my charging guy.
Now finding a charging guy is needed. A charging guy is someone that has a kiosk with different several sockets you pay to have your device charged. At my camp the common rate was 50NGN for your phone and 100NGN for your power bank.
Having a power bank was better because mine could charge my phone about 3 or 4 times which saved me money. I was also never too worried because if my power bank got stolen it would pain less than my phone.
Be very nice to your charging guy so they can even give you discounts sometimes. And you can trust them enough to keep your stuff on some bad days. I had the same charging guy throughout most of camp, I only cheated on him towards the end when I found a place that my devices seemed to charge faster.
Last tip, is on the last day of camp when it’s the passing out parade, don’t leave your device/power bank to be charged cause some people would start clearing out on that day and you don’t want your device to be part of the clearance.
Skipping or stabbing camp activities
For this one in particular don’t say it is me that told you oh! *pulls ear*. Now there would be a lot of lectures, early morning drills, afternoon drills and so on.
The best ways to avoid morning drills is to either hide in your dorm (but you have to be really smart about this and maybe get some collaborative efforts from your roommates).
Or going to the sick bay and saying you’re not feeling well then just crashing on a chair or something.
As for other day activities and lectures this one is trickier but joining clubs/societies like Red Cross, OBS etc.
OBS is very popular so they usually do auditions, however go early to make enquiries if you are interested. They are like the media/social unit of camp.
You may want to avoid joining some clubs, like the band (only if you really have a passion for it) because those people were always practicing yo. Don’t think they had time to do much else.
But as you stab stuff prepare yourself that if you get caught, you’ll probably get punished so be very smart with your moves.
NOW FOR THE TIPS THAT HELP YOU MAKE THE MOST OF CAMP and “TRY” to ENJOY IT
Be friendly and nice
You may end up lonely at camp because your friends decide to abandon you and not stay throughout. Or you get posted to a state without knowing anyone there. This is were being friendly helps, chances are you may not see most of these people again which is why you have nothing to lose by being nice.
Don’t be shy to make friends too, we are all suffering in camp together so bonds are easier to make. If you’re stuck up, people won’t be willing to help you when you might need them to cover for you or something.
Make friends in your room and platoon with active or involved people so they can always keep you in the loop on stuff you need to do.
Be open-minded & get involved in activities you’re interested in
There are many activities that go on from sports, drama, dances, talent shows, beauty contests and more. If you know you’re good at any of those things be open to participating it makes time go faster plus it might end up being fun.
If you don’t have skills in any of these regards or are not that’s not your scenes then marching or callisthenics might work for you.
I marched for my platoon and I’m really glad I did, felt like I accomplished something plus it’s kind of cool learning to march like military guys.
This camp experience is once in a lifetime so if you’re there just make memories that would last. Plus participating in something just keeps your mind busy.
Supporting your platoon in the competitions is also nice, so keep your team spirit up even if you don’t participate be an active cheerleader at least.
Attending useful lectures
There are going to be compulsory skills classes (SAED) you’ll be made to attend. Those ones are quite tough to skip/stab. Make the most by choosing something useful you can actually learn from.
It doesn’t even have to be that serious just make sure you do your research and pick a sensible course. No knowledge goes to waste anyways.
Turning up at Mammy Market
If your camp coordinator is not a killjoy. You would probably have what I’ll call a “turn-up section” at the Mammy market. This is usually popping from the evening, where a DJ would be playing and they’ll be selling alcohol.
It’s usually open to all because even soldiers go there to chill as well. The best way to de-stress after a long day of being an NYSC corper. That’s where you’ll see all those quiet people’s true colors come out, or guys that are trying to stunt and buy bottles.
There is just always a lot going on there so be sure to go turn up there a few times. You’ll definitely have a good laugh if nothing else, trust me.
However, be careful about what you drink, and who you get drinks from, can’t be trusting just anyone. This is the worst place to get overly wasted especially if you don’t have close friends or people you trust with you so turn up with caution.
Some EXTRA random tips
- Don’t go to camp with big hair because wearing your NYSC cap is a necessity. You get into trouble when you don’t. So when picking your hairstyle for camp just make sure it is cap friendly and also heat friendly because you would spend time under the sun.||
- Mosquito nets and insecticide are essential so mosquitoes don’t feast on you. Insect repellent is a good idea if they work for you.
- Take a few outfits for sundays and for other NYSC camp activities. Buying stuff in mammy market can be a rip off. Nothing that would pain you too much if they steal too.
- Take rubber white shoes or something easy to clean so you don’t have dirty white shoes throughout camps.
- Don’t believe the sizes of clothes you picked while registering online. Take enough white shorts and shirts with you.
And the last but not the least on the list is…
Beware Camp is just Part 1 if your stress.
You may think after camp the worst part of NYSC is over but it’s not. Be prepared to be more stressed, frustrated and pushed to your limits during the entire year.
I cannot even start listing all the things that can or would potentially stress you out. But just have this at the back of your mind always that the stress never ends it just changes form.
I hope this was helpful to all soon-to-be corpers out there. If you can relate to any of my experiences do leave a comment and share some of yours with me.
Also, if there is any important tip you feel I left out do let me know I’m very much interested in knowing.