Every year, some of Nigeria’s brightest young people enter into the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme. This compulsory programme runs for one year, starting with an orientation programme which runs for three weeks. Maximising your service year could help your job worth and enhance your competitiveness. So how do you make the most of your service year?
MAKE AN IMPACT
You will spend 12 months in a state you probably have never been to. Most likely, you will teach primary or secondary school students. Some of you will live in states with worse HDI metrics than Chad and Afghanistan. It is convenient to complain and find faults in your host communities. Most people will do.
You can be different. You should try to be different. We implore you to change something in your Place of Primary Assignment (PPA) and/or the host community. Will you organize extracurricular activities, set up reading clubs, teach the local women about microfinance, help advance the SDGs? Or will you empower women, youth, or children with the skills you have learned? What will you do to uplift Gombe, Cross River, or Ekiti?
LEARN A SKILL
You will have loads of time on your hands. Data service might not be as good as you’d like. But you can rely on those PDFs documents/videos on your PC. Learn a skill: data analytics, digital marketing, problem-solving, financial modeling, business strategy, etc
READ OR STAY RELEVANT
There is so much to learn, yes even after your degree. Maybe this service year is your opportunity to finally get to read up on some of the concepts you have always craved. Nothing builds your conceptual ability, vocabulary, and worldview as reading. Have you always struggled with reading? Fix it during your service year. Read a novel, someone’s autobiography, or a seminal book. Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom, George Orwell’s 1984, Jeffrey Sachs’ The End of Poverty or Late Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart (and other books in the African Writers Series).
Or new trends changing the world we live in. Blockchain technology, virtual and augmented reality, machine learning, the rise of anti-globalization, etc. You have time now.
WRITE A PROFESSIONAL EXAM
Everyone has told you to start a professional examination. You might want to listen. Start preparing for your financial future. There is no better time to start preparing for the world if not during your service year, this is the best time to learn how to create a budget and adhere strictly to it. Your service year is the best time to highlight your Life Goals and start saving towards them, learn to set aside at least 10 percent of your monthly income in savings. Take time out to learn how to invest and when to invest. There is no better time to kick-start your financial journey if not now!
Think about it, this might be the first time you will get the opportunity to think about your life…yourself. Your parents probably chose what primary and secondary schools you attended and had a say in the course you studied in university. Also, you have always been studying, so you have been too busy to reflect. This might be the first time you are having a say in what you do next. Or even how you want to live your life? Use this opportunity, reflect! Work will dominate the next phase of your life, so start thinking about it if you are not already. What are your strengths? Where do you have the best ideas and biggest incentive to work? What career fascinates you? Which professionals are your role models and why do you like that work? What would you be remembered for? What impact do you want to have? Having answers to these questions can help you get a lot more from life.
Get all the vaccinations you need and those that you might not need. Be fortified! One year looks long, especially if you have to spend it in Nassarawa, Ebonyi, or Kwara. But it could be an impactful one. Maybe if you looked at it as an opportunity to develop yourself, spending one year outside of your comfort zone will not look as scary.
We look forward to the next year with hope. You should too!