Advice For Youth Corpers Leaving For Orientation Camp

So, today begins another NYSC Orientation camping which always turns out to be a memorable experience for 80% of the youth corpers, while 15% see it as boring and the remaining 5% dreads to tell their experience. Whichever category you fall under, here are some things to note before you head into the orientation camp:

1. Registration:

Remember to carry all your documents from home to avoid getting stranded at a point. If I were you I’ll carry all important documents about you as an individual to the camp. Registration stops 12 midnight preceding swearing –in day. So do not rush to stand in queues for hours and even forget to eat. Remember, fainting is real! Take your time if you can, the most important thing is to get all necessary attire first. And don’t forget to always wear your cap, both for health reasons and to avoid punishments. You need to get your meal ticket too and make sure you don’t misplace it.

   2. Laundry:

There are washer men and women available at your disposal for mostly the Aje-butter children and those who do not want to stress themselves. But to save money and stress of trying to ensure they return your own clothes back to you, wash your clothes immediately you come back from the field and take your bath. Try to hang it where it would get dry away from the rain. You must have a spare to wear the following day because you would be given two pairs (and maybe an extra you brought along).

3.   Adjustment of clothes:

Unless you are unlucky and get a khaki times three your size (we all get that), there may be no need to adjust it. But if you must, don’t do it when there is rush because you would end up paying a very high price at first. Wait till the end of the week when a lot of people must have gotten theirs done and you can do yours at almost the usual rate. Don’t forget to negotiate well if you can. But if you don’t mind, you can leave it till you leave camp. While adjusting, do not make it too tight and make sure the tailor doesn’t cut off the remaining materials so you can always go back for a re-fix. Make sure you follow those tailors up if not you would be given flimsy excuses.

4.   Connect:

Truth is, you would meet different types of people in camp; the crazy, calm, spoilt, razz, dirty, nice, complicated, funny, holy, party, drunk, beautiful, ugly, etc and different tribes too. Just be open-minded and smile at people when you can. Don’t make trouble and try to stay far when you see one brewing. Make friends, you shouldn’t go through camp alone. Plus, they may be helpful at one point or the other.

5.   Outfit:

Just have enough t-shirts and shorts to wear throughout the week if possible and have comfortable night wears especially in places with cold/hot nights. Also have Sunday attire just in case your camp would allow you go without white on Sunday. You may need extra pair of fancy attires if you intend to participate in some camp events like pageantry, drama, dance, sports, carnival etc.

6.   Food:

The camp kitchen is run by incredibly hard working women who are assisted by fellow corpers from different platoons assigned to the kitchen for each meal. You will be fed three times a day in camp, but if you know you are someone who love to eat enough, this food won’t be enough for you. If you are someone who loves to eat food at any chance or you don’t want to have the mammy feel, no problem, just come loaded to camp with provisions like cereals, beverages, garri, biscuits etc. Also make plans to have extra cash for visits to the camp market (mammy). You will get good food there and won’t spend much to eat well, and the price however depends on the state to which you have been posted.

7.   Phone Charging:

For safety reasons, there are no sockets in hostels. Even if there are, they won’t work. But there are places available where you can charge your batteries at the camp market. Make sure you give them only your battery and ensure they write your code number on it for easy identification. You can give them your phones too but be careful when doing this. Give them your phone in the morning and make sure you get it back before night, let’s say 5 or 6pm. They close and go home whether everyone has collected their phones or not and you’ll have to wait till the following day to get it. Also note that towards end of the camp, a lot of them leave with people’s phones. So a day to leaving the camp, charge your phone well and make sure you have no need to go back to charge on the day you’ll be leaving.

8.   Water:

Always fetch water and store for the next morning. You can be shocked that there may be no water supply the next morning or it may finish before it gets to your turn and that means no bathing for you. As for drinking water you either buy pure water or bottled water because there is no free drinking water whatsoever. Buy in bags if you can to save cost.

9.   Hairdo For Ladies:

Ladies try not to go with heavy or very stylish hair to avoid excess heat and time to care for it. You could make short hair or braids that can last for the three weeks to avoid heat and save time. Any overly stylish hair would cost you extra time (which you don’t have) to comb and style, plus the excess drilling can make you sweat a lot and cause it to smell. You wouldn’t want your hair to be something that would keep people away from you.

10.                  Pocket Money:

This is exactly why people are advised to have something doing while they were waiting to be called up. This way you can have something saved up to help you in camp. The question is “How much money do you really need for the NYSC Orientation Course?” 

You will be paid a #1,500 allowance sometime after you arrive the NYSC camp and also another allowance some days later. Both bicycle and transport allowances may not be enough for you or it may be depending on how you decide to cut your coat. If you intend to drink and hang out at the mammy/mami market, then you need to take more money depending on how much you can finish, be wise though! You will still have to pay for SAED (Skill Acquisition And Entrepreneurial Development) training and some other little stuffs in your platoon. You will also get your first allowance/allawee (#19,800) in camp so make sure you plan your expenses well.

11.                  Queues:

Just be prepared to wait in line for EVERYTHING! Also know that a lot of people would always want to jump lines and would claim to be behind an imaginary person before you. Just be smart but don’t be rude when addressing such. Play it off and laugh over it. Help the person if you (as long as the people behind you won’t notice and bite your head off!). You never know, such person can be of help later.

12.                  Bathroom & Toilet:

Don’t expect the bathrooms and toilets to be like one in a five star hotel. If the cleaners in your hostels aren’t doing well, try to arrange among yourselves or the laundry people and do justice to the toilets. Remember, NYSC doesn’t care if you get one disease or the other from using the toilet.

13.                  Beware Of Soldiers And Respect Authorities:

Do not dare the soldiers, some can be ruthless and you know they have authority to deal with you in name of discipline. But they can be helpful and friendly if you know how to follow them. Also respect the officials in charge, either platoon level, camp level or even state level. These people can even help you secure a good place of primary assignment if you play it well.

14.                  Respect The Parade Ground:

Always switch your phones off or put them on silence while on parade ground. Just don’t bring it out, it could be seized and destroyed if you add disrespect on top. The bad thing is that there is no one to report to or get a new one. Also try to reduce noise when it’s actually a time to be quiet. The soldiers are always meting out punishments like it’s nothing and they don’t mind using you as an example.

15.                  Accommodation:

The accommodation is usually something else. Rooms may be jam-packed with little or no space to walk freely but it’s not that uncomfortable. Just be prepared for the worst because you never know where you’ll be fixed even though some hostels are usually better than the others in the same camp.

16.                  Fellowships:

There are fellowships for Christians and Muslims on camp.  The 3 recognized associations are NCCF (Nigerian Christian Corpers Fellowhip) for all other Christians, NACC (National Association of Catholic Corpers) for Catholics and MCAN (Muslim Corpers Association Of Nigeria) for Muslims. So you could make your choice and join them in morning/evening prayers/mass/service. Been active in one is very necessary because they can be of great help even when you leave camp. They can help with transporting you outside camp, provide temporary accommodation when you leave camp and sometimes help connect you with good places of primary assignment. Not to mention that they would greatly improve your spiritual live.

I hope these were useful and educative. Overall, the NYSC camp is usually fun and an opportunity to connect with a lot of people and make it worth your while. It is an experience you may or may not enjoy. Whichever way, try to make it the best 3 weeks of NYSC year.

Congratulations for obeying the clarion call and don’t forget to share your states and most especially, your NYSC camp experiences in the comment box.

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