The estimated reading time for this post is 7 minutes
Yours sincerely, I cannot tell you how much I have wished and prayed and hoped that this cup will pass over me.
Once Upon a Time…
Some months back, in 2019, the Knight asked me if I really had to go for the one year service to the nation. I was adamant about just getting it over with, besides, I would earn and be able to save up again and also use the time to tidy up some things. Also, my brothers said when they become president, they would need me as Minister of Health and I would need my certificate.
Now, few days to the beginning of camp and I have this splitting headache induced by my hours of trudging under the sun, searching for white round-neck shirts, shorts, sneakers or whatever and trying not to be swindled by these l’argent sucking market men and women.
The Bad, the Bad and the Ugly.
I am wondering what blessed state my call-up letter will bear and how I do not want to have to ‘travel out’ intra-nationally just to get to a run down, messed up, soldier-punishing, colored-water-rewarding arena and then start paying huge amounts and begging all over just to get redeployed. One of my would-be-president brothers has said if I get posted to any northern state, that’s it. I am going nowhere. So much for Minister of Health.
Then, no one has explained to me the logic behind call-up letters only being available 2-3 days before commencement of camp. What kind of preparation do you want people to have when they have less than 72 hours to be uprooted and transplanted over terrible roads, via heaven and earth condemned vehicles and through prayers to all patron, saints, gods and martyrs known? I consider it very inconsiderate and ill-willing of the NYSC to subject anyone to such uncertainty. Life is full of enough uncertainties, we really do not need to add more.
I could go on about the futility of this program in the bigger scheme of things, the unflattering doggedness of the NYSC to still survive till today and the unfairness of pay, accommodation, benefits and so on of corp members. Yes, we get to meet with new people. form connections, get some exposure here and there, probably taste some new meals that won’t purge you and contribute something to some communities. However, I am of the opinion that without some conscious effort on the part of individuals, it would end up being just for nothing.
So, what to do?
I am proposing a 12 goal thread for the year.
- Read. There is no way I would make a list without this being there. Get any of the offline apps for reading, download books and devour them. Most especially, try and read outside of your ‘norm’. I am a mystery, horror, thriller, romance kind of reader. (Look, I actually read just about anything). But, I realize I need more of other spheres, especially outside the typical world of novels.
- Write. Really, what else were you expecting? Bien sur, I just have to write. I would be coming out with a ‘Behind the Scenes’ for NYSC, by God’s grace and seeing as taking Chekwaa along is a definite, impossible no-no, I would have to resort to my old and trusted pen to paper method. But, for those who do not consider themselves writers, the next one is for you.
- Jot. Joff fings down. Take note of things; new things, recurrent things, things that seem to be on high demand or seem to be working for most people. Jot down lessons and how they can impact your life or the lives of others. Just don’t see important stuff and just ambulance it away with, “wow, wow, wow”.
MONEY AND THE FUTURE.
- Save. I know that this might be quite difficult what with some PPAs paying you only by word of mouth and no ‘testimony’ to show for it and some states not even paying at all. But, remember you’re getting more than what was ordained before by the federal government. Do something.
- Leave a good impression: Again, this can also be difficult and calls for some extra internal motivation. See this as an opportunity to paint another image of yourself on the world’s canvas. It sure may appear minute, being Nigeria, but, like I recently said, the world is indeed a small village. Things happen.
- Work on the next plan/stage. We cannot predict tomorrow and we cannot say who will be alive to even witness it. We will not, however, fold our arms and watch night turn to day without any thoughts for the next day. NYSC is a year, just 12 months. In the twinkling of an eye, it would be over. What do you want to step into after that? Masters? Get into your applications for admission and scholarships. Travelling out? Take stock of what you need to get done and wait no more. Getting married? Start learning about life as a Siamese twin.
- Make friends but find connections. You see, making friends is not the issue. It is important, truly, but, you will be okay without it, assuming you have friends already. But, you see connections? They may not come to you in the cloak of friendship. You may not have the luxury of discovering later on that the guy or lady you made friends with is the CEO or PRO of some big company. You may have to deliberately set out to gain those connections. If you don’t do the next thing on this list though, you may not get this.
OUT OF YOUR SHELL.
- Try new things: I say this with caution as many people are just looking for something or someone to hinge their negative choices on. I am not asking you to jump wide-eyed into what is definitely of negative impact in your life, whether in the short or long run. I mean, try a new language, a new meal, a new cooking style, a new office routine, a new exercise/workout regimen, a new skill. Don’t be too careful.
- Be involved. This is especially for those of you who got away with being the inactive member of every group project. Don’t stand aloof or just observe. Contribute. Add value. Be heard. Let others feel the essence of your presence. For the introverts, putting yourself out there will not come easy but it is something you can try.
GROWTH: PHYSICAL, HEALTH-WISE, SPIRITUAL.
- Grow your faith. This is specific for those who consider a relationship with God important. What is that thing you think is deficient in your Christian walk? Fix it. This is a period in which you can set reasonable goals for yourself. Don’t think it an escape route or some kind of resting place. If you are entertaining such thoughts, your faith might be needing some extra extra help because no one is supposed to be seeking’respite’ from the love of God.
- Stay healthy. There is only so much eating you can do on a 33k salary. Don’t be unfortunate and start splurging on unhealthy food, of all things. Exercise. This is as much for me, as it is for you. Take note of your health status. Some of you have never run routine tests before, you have no baseline for health parameters. Change that this year. Make conscious effort to monitor your health. It pays.
- Stay safe. This is somewhat out of our hands but, you can take control of some situations. Be extra careful about where you go and who you move with. Err on the side of caution. If there are rumors of clashes, fights, etc, at a certain location, try to verify. If you can’t, consider other safe routes. Your life matters.
I am certain there are more things that can fit into goals for this one year period. Mark them and keep them at the back of your mind. They would make this time pass even faster.
PS: For those who checked up on the site and had some difficulty accessing it, I apologize for that. The issue has been rectified. Thank you for always believing in me.
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