While I was in camp, as I was in one of the SAED lectures, I started jotting down points I learnt as a result of experiences I had in just one week of orientation. It’s a week since we left orientation camp, a lot happened but I won’t be writing about everything.
Three weeks where some lose direction of where they’re going and where some others find a clearer path for their lives and the rest remain just the same with no significant growth or knowledge added whatsoever. I know no one wants to be a part of the first group not even the last but not everyone may be willing to pay the price. The essence of writing this is to share experiences and lessons. I hope you can pick one or two things from it🤔
The NYSC scheme is structured such that the one year is just like a spring board into the rest of your life. For most graduates like me who have always been dependent on parents or guardians, it’s an avenue to be independent and practice it ahead.
The government wants you to have a feel of what it means to work, get paid and live on your own. Or should I say I see it as practicing and preparing for how you would want to live in future.
I realised that getting the right knowledge helps you do things differently.. So stick around while I share lessons from three weeks of orientation camp.
I’d start with Focus.
You need to know that your purpose is Christ because whatever you do stems out of that. Keeping your focus on Christ is what would keep you going when all else fails. Having a personal relationship with Him is key.
Read on God’s love(the gospel) for you. This is where many miss it, it’s an NYSC orientation camp not a permanent or marital spouse camp. You’re not living there forever meaning that the primary aim which you’re there is to get information about your one year of serving the country, every other thing is secondary. Don’t go with the aim of “it is time to find a wife or husband or what’s worse just any guy who can buy food for me at mami market🤥”.
Focus on your focus and avoid distractions. Now this isn’t to say you shouldn’t join any group or associate with people, far from it but while doing these keep focused.
Still on this, if you’re the type that is moved by unnecessary attention, there’s the tendency to get distracted. I remember one night in camp, I was walking towards my hostel and the path wasn’t so lighted.
As I walked through, someone said “fine girl”. In my mind, I was like how did you know I’m fine, you didn’t even see my face well😂 You’d know such people are only seeking attention. For ladies, please be sure you know where your identity lies. Camping experience costs some their service year because they forgot focus and priority!
Let me tell you something about Friendships. The kind of people you associate with goes a long way in determining who you really are and how you’d live your life. I kid you not when I say so. It’s amazing how God answers our prayers. I’m extremely grateful for the gift of friendships I’ve enjoyed.
The truth is making friends isn’t by force neither is it a do or die affair so as much as possible make sure you’re focused as that would help you choose your friends. You might hear things like be my friend on so and so condition.😒 In my mind I’m like even Jesus doesn’t even say so🙄
Norah was my closest friend in camp as we shared a lot and attended most lectures together. I met Norah for the first time at the park from Abakaliki to orientation camp at Old Mac Gregor College, Afikpo, Ebonyi state. I had no idea we would become close in camp. We only exchanged a few words in the bus and after few days I discovered that we were in the same room and later on same platoon(name given to the groups). She assisted me a lot when I needed her help.
There were times I wasn’t going her direction, I’d let her know and we would part ways. For the fact that someone is your friend doesn’t mean you would follow them everywhere or at the expense of what you’re meant to do.
We were together most of the times but when it was time for fellowship, I made my way down whether she was going or not. Every friendship has boundaries. Don’t be so carried away that you forget that you can make choices of your own.
On the first day of camp, although I had not registered due to some delays (which I’d explain soon) I didn’t waste time looking for where to fellowship. You need to make it clear where you stand and to whom you belong. Associate with people with same faith even if there are doctrinal beliefs that might differ. Don’t give excuses for not attending meetings especially when you obviously can. The truth is to keep your spiritual life going in camp, you need fellowship after each day’s stress, disappointment or tiredness. The Word of God is needed to refresh and build you up for each day. Don’t joke with fellowship please.
During the SAED(Skills Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development) programme organised by NYSC to equip corps members, I joined photography class and it was really awesome, fun and educative. I was chosen as the model for my group. See some pictures that were taken.
Other groups include automobile, beautification, food processing, ICT, cosmetology, Education, etc. You’re allowed to choose from any of these.
Discover your area of gifting. Those three weeks could be another avenue to discover what you’re gifted at. There are quite a number of activities in camp you can engage in ranging from singing, writing(for morning meditation), volleying, etc. Most times you don’t know you’re good at something if you don’t try it and then develop yourself 🤗
Never admit Failure. There would be times you would be frustrated in camp, from the soldier’s ‘wahala’ to the early morning drills. You’d sure feel it but don’t let it overwhelm you. You’re not a failure because you can’t march or maybe your platoon doesn’t come first in anything 😂 There’s much more to life than the three weeks orientation camp please. Do your best but if you don’t win, that’s okay. Someone told me if I can’t do any of the man o war drills, I should say it. I didn’t really understand when the person said so but when we started the training, it clicked😂Nobody would kill you really. Do the ones you can and be sure you have fun!
Don’t lose Hope. This has to do with my registration issues. Where do I start from? 😄
Registration for NYSC started on Tuesday, 21st November 2017 and I arrived camp that same day with James one brother and friend from Babcock University. It’s like he was just following me everywhere lol but not the same PPA tho.
First, I want to appreciate Adereti James for the many ways he assisted me. I also want to thank the DLCF and NCCF families and everyone for their love and prayers! I remember calling my dad that afternoon to tell him I wasn’t allowed to register because I couldn’t show my passport because I misplaced it prior to that time. But God made me understand that He can turn our mistakes into opportunities and blessings. Don’t be careless like me, please keep your documents secure to avoid stories that touch.
Even when things aren’t working for us, there is hope! Why? Because our hope is Jesus not temporal things. With Jesus in us, we must keep hopeful and believing that everything works for our good. After waiting till the end of Tuesday, people I came with had registered completely and it seemed like I was the only one left.
I encouraged myself since there was still time to register, anything could happen. Although I had my data pages for the passport and visa and I had done an affidavit and police report almost immediately after I lost it but I guess because the registration officers were busy, they paid less attention to what I said once they didn’t see the international passport.
I met with a lot of officials but I was told there was nothing they could do. Different people were involved in my matter to the extent that I started wondering whose issue it really was. Whew! It’s one period in my life I’d never forget easily.
On Wednesday morning, I left the camp to process a new one without hope of registering with Batch B stream 1. I was told I would have to join stream 2 since the passport won’t be ready before registration ends. I was moved to tears but that wasn’t the end, was it? It seemed like the end but I had the assurance I was going to serve and that kept me going. Shaky circumstances but firm in God’s promises for me. I reminded myself of a verse God gave me on my birthday;
“I walk in increased greatness and I’m comforted on every side” Psalm 71:21 (paraphrased).
On my way to Abakaliki, I stopped at Peace park and went to pay for the bus ticket. Although the bus was empty I thought in no time, it’d be filled up so I continued with my reading. Some minutes later, a young girl approached the bus selling pure water. We traded and I turned my head down again.
No one had joined this bus after several minutes and I was meant to be in Abakaliki as soon as possible. What do I do?, I thought. I’ve already purchased a ticket. The girl came around again and was asking me if I was a Corper saying I’m looking fine o😂 I said Aww.. Thank you… But in my mind, I was like if only she knew what was going on with me.
She said she wanted to talk to me so I listened. She told me how she lost her parents and she isn’t treated well where she stays. Long story short, I told her about the gospel. I encouraged her and assisted in the little way I could. She believed, Amanda believed the gospel!!!
The joy I had within me when I saw her smile and jump all over was unexplainable. She took my number and kept saying “I’d call you, I’d call you. Thank you!…”
You can be a blessing at all times. Everything doesn’t have to be all rosy for you to light up other people’s world. Don’t excuse your bad behaviour saying it’s because of the Nigerian economy, weather or poverty. You have God in you which is enough for you to make a difference.
You’re blessed to be a blessing!
Find out how I was able to register and much more in my next post.
Please share your thoughts with me, I’d love to hear from you!