Mama I Made It!!!
Thursday was an exciting day for me. It was the earliest I’ve written (4am) anything since my early blogging days. It was my POP day, Finally done with NYSC, Yipppeee!!!
I had stretched my hand for too long in one position and as I tried to turn it hit me “I made it”. Instantly my heart leapt with joy and gratitude. There’s so much to be thankful for but most especially for God’s unending love, good health, and an amazing support system.
It has truly been an amazing year with obvious highs and lows as usual I have a few life lessons to share:
1. Talk To People
I talked about how I battled with depression HERE 2years ago and during this time, I decided to register for NYSC. After that, I began to bombard my friends who had gone through the program and those still part of it to help with “survival tips”. Truth is, you can never get enough of it. Get everyone’s tip then use whichever applies more to your situation. Knowledge is truly power.
2. Keep An Open Mind
This was the best advice I got. It has kept me upto this moment. I had no pre-planned template of what my experience should be like (which is something unlikely for my kind of person). I just went with the flow and did my best to be optimistic at every point.
3. Don’t Play With God
If you haven’t taken anything else I’ve said so far serious, please do take this serious. I’m not being the regular Nigerian, I’m spitting facts here. We all know those situations we’re faced with that need divine intervention; the ones you know it’s only God that can get you out of it. There were days I had doubts, felt down, and lost but He always came through. For full gist, holla at me privately.
4. Enjoy The Process
Frustration won’t do you any good. You’d keep attracting a lot of negativity into your life. It was a sad discovery for me that my service year will be spent as a teacher in a public school where the students barely assimilate anything. I looked forward to working with a company that had high chances of retention. When my dream wasn’t coming to reality, I decided that it’s just a year of community service out of the many years I have (God willing) to make all the money possible. That was an instant “factory reset” moment for me.
5. Discover Other Facets of Yourself
The thing about being open-minded is you’re welcome to new experiences. I dreaded my first day of class. I had no idea what I’d teach or how I’d engage the students. Let’s just say, I discovered I’m a bad-ass teacher (Yup, I’m bragging). If I wasn’t open to the experience and grumbled at every turn, I wouldn’t have discovered that.
For a while now, I’ve known I’m good with my hands. Anything I set my mind to create, I become a “bad-ass” in no time,no kidding. I’m now obsessed with the production process of handbags. These days i find myself ripping bags apart with my eyes trying to figure out how to make it. This discovery dates back to the “lightbulb moment” SAED (An NYSC Skill Acquisition training) sparked in me.
Professional courses are cheaper because for corpers so take advantage of the opportunities made available.
Get productively busy so you’re not stranded when you pass out and your job applications don’t go through.
6. Be Friendly & Approachable
Never look down on anyone; only God sits that high. Another friend told me “Be friendly and respectful to everyone even the gateman because he can lead you to the boss one day” I didn’t get initially that but I took the advice anyways. It didn’t bear fruits till halfway through and I was thankful I listened.
7. Create Lasting Friendships & Valuable Networks
The program might be useless certainly not the people. You’d meet amazing people but if you ignore number 6 and stay stuck up and unapproachable, you’ll leave NYSC the way you got in or maybe worse.
Quit complaining about how meager 19,800 is and find ways to add value to your life. Your endless complains won’t increase your “allawee”. The foundation of certain empires we admire today were birthed during NYSC. My favorite story is the one on Seyi Adekunle who started VodiTailors with 3,600 during his NYSC year. Read all about it HERE. How about the lady in the picture below that just published her book.
What will be your story? .
8. Learn As Much As You Can About Your Host State
I didn’t do this deeply but I encourage you to. It’ll be your home for one year so it’s important to understand how they live, think, and work. As much as we’re all Nigerians, we don’t do things the same way. I had my fair share of culture shock when I got here. People say Nigerians are loud and I didn’t believe it until I got here. I still wonder why everyone’s shouting. I hope I’m not one of them now.
9. Find A Means Of Survival
Truth is 19,800 has never been enough and it gets worse with every set. I’d advice you to get a part-time job if you can, start a small business if you can (my friend started her beddings and underwear business with 15,000 and it has grown to 150,000 now), if you can beg, start begging now. You’ll need every dime you can get.
10. Be Careful
If you’re getting ready for camp, find out what you need for camp and how to survive it HERE. Have fun (with sense) in camp. Don’t judge any book by its cover. You’d be amazed what you’d discover from a simple conversation with your fellow “white fowl”. Your destiny helper isn’t always some rich business tycoon. Shine your eye.
Life is 100% what you make of it. What will you make of your NYSC year?