Usually, PCMs are excited once they receive their call-up letter and their enthusiasm is to travel and reach the Orientation Camp. In this article we’re going to discuss in detail important tips that will help you enjoy your stay at the orientation camp. Also very important travel safety tips have been discussed in a different article here.
Important Tips for Enjoyable NYSC Camp Stay
1. Prepare Your Mind For Anything:
First and foremost, you need to prepare your mind that you are leaving home for a regimented life in the camp. Life in the camp is deliberately made stressful so as to prepare you for any challenge that may confront you outside the camp. You will not find it too comfortable as it’s a camp and not your Father’s house so just be ready for anything and zero your mind to any special treatment so you don’t get disappointed.
2. Itemize All Your Needs For The Entire Camp Period:
Starting with the very important items. These are very important and not having them will deny you your stay in camp.
a. Statement of Result
b. School ID card
c. Passport photographs (10 copies, white background, Surplus is better than inadequacy)
d. Call-Up Letter and Green Card (Don’t laminate please)
e. Medical Certificate of Fitness indicating your health status
f. A plastic bag/file for all documents.
NB: Get 5 or more photocopies of each document and also go with their original copies.
Items for your convenience:
a. Stationeries; pen, stapler, pin, gum, permanent marker etc to save you the stress of ‘borrow-me’ please.
b. Two or three white T-shirts and shorts. Though you will be given two sets in camp but chances are you may not like the quality and size.
c. Two pairs of socks and white rubber tennis shoes especially for rainy days and they are easier to wash and dry.
d. Plastic bucket to save you time waiting for someone to finish and give you. You can buy it in the camp too but it will be more expensive.
e. Toiletries like toothbrush, toothpaste, bathing soap, sponge, detergent, toilet paper, towel, slippers, disinfectants, sanitary products for ladies etc.
f. Bed sheet, pillow case, wrapper, Sunday wears (incase they allow you go without your whites) casual wear for carnival, special attires for competitions (if interested), cardigan, mosquito net if you want, handkerchiefs if you sweat a lot etc.
g. Waist bag for your phones, ID cards, ATMs and other valuables.
h. Small-sized torchlight/rechargeable lamp and sunglasses if you need it.
i. Food flask, cup, spoon and water bottle for carrying water during parade.
j. Basic drugs like panadol or paracetamol, malaria drug, flagyl, pain relief drug and others as it will be better not to rely on the medical center.
k. Padlocks and keys for your bags as you don’t know your roommate.
3. Try To Get To The Camp Early:
No matter how close the camp might be to your street, endeavour to go early. If you are posted to a far state, go the day before the camp opens since they will allow you in. Worst case, leave on the day the camp opens so that even if there’s any delay we don’t pray for, you’ll still meet up with the registration period.
4. Understand Each Screening Process:
The screening starts at the gate, where your loads are opened and thoroughly searched. They don’t want you to bring in prohibited items like iron, knives, fork, explosive, etc so just respect yourself. From there you will encounter some other screening points so just keep an open mind and do what your mates are doing.
5. Understand The Registration Process:
The first registration will certainly be for hostel/bed space, where you will be given tags to identify with. Then the document registrations will follow. Try as much as possible to make everything available. Look out for information pasted on walls and follow instructions strictly.
6. Your Kits:
During the registration, you will get all your kits (shirts, shorts and shoes). Use the marker to write your State Code Number on them once you are comfortable with the size. You will also be given a tag that will show your number. That will be your ID card temporarily and you’ll be expected to take it everywhere in camp. You will also be given a meal ticket. Don’t misplace it or you forget about NYSC food.
7. Camp Duration:
You will be in the camp for 20 full days. The 21st day is the day you will be leaving the camp so make good use of your time and make good relationship. Best of all, participate in activities and impress the officials even the religious leaders as they can influence your PPA posting.
8. No Room For Casual Wears:
Immediately you get your kits, you are expected to always be in your white T-shirt and shorts with the tennis shoes unless permitted on special days. In fact, you get your kit and parade, marching, training starts immediately. The soldiers will not give you breathing space at all. You will have the first one that same day and you might even find people fainting on the Parade Ground as it’s their first experience. You won’t faint, so calm down, eat well and have water to drink with you always. It’s the stress that causes the fainting so avoid too much of it. Don’t do ‘oversabi’, when you start feeling faint, tell your platoon leader and they will allow you rest for a while.
9. Morning Regimented Programme:
A small trumpet wakes you at 4am. Everybody gathers at the Parade Ground (PG) at 4:30am. You have your praise, worship and prayer the Christian and Muslim ways. After the morning admonitions, by 7am, breakfast follows! After eating, you will be called out again for the series of programmes lined up for you. Then you have your lunch, rest a little and you are out again for evening parade, then your dinner later. This will repeat itself everyday except on Sunday or a day with special events so prepare yourself for what you’ll receive.
10. Hate The Food And Feed Yourselves At Your Own Cost:
You may not like the food in camp but if you really want to save money, stick with it and you’ll be glad. It’s not all that bad but you can always go to the Mammy Market i.e the Camp Market to eat delicacies at your cost.
11. Stealing Is Real:
Stealing is prevalently prevailing at the Camp. People can steal anything at anytime so you have to be wise! If you are the one who steals, hold yourself during camp because if caught you are finished!
12. Respect Authorities Especially The Soldiers:
Respect and obey them at all times. Although they are not permitted to hit/beat you, they can still punish you. Don’t even think of walking when a soldier calls you, it is all jogging and doubling up to avoid harassment or unnecessary punishment. The soldiers can be friendly too but don’t take that for granted.
13. Allawee Matters:
Your different allowance (N3000, N2500, N19, 800) will be given to you in the camp, and it will be in cash. All other ones will be through the bank.
Photographers are going to be everywhere ready to snap you, but please be prudent in spending. Your camera phone will be more useful at this point because you’ll find out that the ones they will give you will not make much sense. Stick with collecting just the soft copy if you can.
After your days in camp and when you’re finally done with camp, it’s time to start going to your Place of Primary Assignment (PPA). You will be posted from the camp to where you will work. The place you work in is called your PPA. Note that a good percent of Corpers will be posted to schools (especially primary and secondary schools). Only very few will be posted to the universities, polytechnics and colleges.
You’ll see people claiming that they can help you lobby for your posting. Don’t pay anybody for assistance. Instead, use a good influence to get an official or other authority to notice your talent. During some competitions, you’ll see company managements coming around to pick people. Gone are the days when Corps Members are posted to Banks and similar companies. Unless you have a very long leg (you know what I mean) just be smart, do the needful, pray and you’ll get a good place.
16. Going Out Of Camp:
When you get your Posting Letter, the first place to go to is wherever your local government is going to address you all. Most drivers know that but ensure the one you are entering is headed there. Very few of your employers (i.e. PPAs) will send down vehicles to convey you from the camp to their workplaces.
Private and some Government higher education institutions do too. And even the Fellowship too makes arrangement for you at your cost though. Commercial transporters will likely be available at the gate too. Just be sure to follow the right one. The good thing with going there is that you can identify with a religious body (if you didn’t do that in camp) who will gladly help you with a temporary lodge they will provide. Then you could report at your PPA later same day or the following day.
Please, when you leave the camp, home- sweet-home will be on your mind, having been used up and exhausted in the camp. But please, don’t go home straight. Stay and finish clearance at least with PPA and local government. This is so your PPA doesn’t deny your posting and you’ve already travelled.
17. Accommodation at PPA:
Your first thought after confirming the PPA has approved your posting is where will you stay for your Nysc year? The Fellowship may give you a temporary accommodation pending the time you will have to get yours. You could get lucky and your employer gives you a room. Many of them don’t give Corpers accommodation anyway. So be prepared to rent one at your cost. You could get lucky and stay with someone or get a religious ‘family house’ that can accommodate you for the year
This is why you don’t have to go home straight. Your registration (clearance) at the NYSC Office in the Local Government you will be posted to is important. Do it on time to avoid stress and maybe complications from the beginning. Do all registrations first. Then you can take permission to go home.
So, just sit back and relax because your one year service year will come and go before you know it. I don’t technically mean you should relax and do nothing. In fact, this is the time to learn a useful and profitable skill that will help you in the future.
Well, I hope these few tips will help.