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My NYSC Orientation Camp Experience in Lagos State

For someone who spent hours reading about the camp experience of other people, it would be super selfish of me not to pay it forward. There was literally no way I wouldn't write this post and so, here I am, doing just that. I'd try to keep it simple though, not like there's much to talk about.
For those who aren't familiar with NYSC, here's how it works. After graduating from a tertiary institution, Nigerian youths have to undergo this compulsory 'National Youth Service Corps' for one year. The scheme is in 4 phases and is kicked off by the 21 days orientation camp in whatever state you get posted to.
Let me start by saying getting posted to Lagos was nothing short of a miracle. One minute I was mentally planning a diet suitable for a very long distance travel and reducing my load and the next minute, all was fine with the world.

Going into full details would be TMI but I'd be happy to share if anyone asks. Remember I said I read many people's camp experience on their blogs? So, I decided to make mine a little different by taking the Q and A route. I believe this would also make writing this post a lot easier for me. Fingers crossed that the questions would come easily to me and that a prospective corps member feels more enlightened after reading this post. I would also update this post if more questions pop up. Here we go...


1. How was the first day on camp like?
Tiring. But then the Lagos traffic we faced might have contributed to this because I got to camp much later than I planned to. Registration wasn't so stressful but I did wish it was more organized.

From having to lie to a soldier at the gate that I'd get back to him when he kept saying we had to 'wash' my first class result to almost falling prey to 419 photographers who tried to convince me that I needed passport photos with red background to having to deal with traders using the weirdest compliments to try to lure me to patronize them to having to deal with sooo many faces in one place, I knew I had really gotten to the NYSC camp I had read and heard about. I honestly couldn't wait to sleep and oh, I slept! I remember I was the last person to wake up in my room of 30 ladies. I mean it's not easy going from waking up as late as 10/11am to waking up by 4am.
2. What's the one item that is essential to have but hardly makes anyone's list?
Hand sanitizer.
Forever grateful to my friend Dayo for mentioning this to me. Whether it's on days when your platoon is on duty and you have to perform sanitation duties or on days when you have to deal with unclean items and there's no immediate access to soap or you're just sleepy during the never-ending lectures and need an activity to keep you awake, your hand sanitizer would surely come in handy.
3. The best part of camp for me?
The early morning physical trainings and my roommates. I'm not sure what made me love the former but as days went on, I realized that I was always looking forward to it. But the latter? They were amazing!
I've once had a terrible roommate experience so I wasn't looking forward to living with lots of people but my camp roommates were the best! I'm the kind of person who could take days if not weeks before I can get really comfortable in a new place but it wasn't so with them. The laughter, talks, sisterhood, and of course, gossip was everything. Haha.
Oh, I also got to achieve one of my 2019 goals while in camp so major win! I also almost forgot to include this but I started learning 3 languages - French, Spanish and German while on camp via the SAED (Skills Acquisition and Entrepreneurial Development) program. It exercised my brain sort of so yh, I enjoyed it.
- I've also always wanted to attend a Catholic service. I got to do just that in camp. Let's just say I left the service more curious than I initially was.
4. The worst part of camp...
Having to stand/sit for long hours. I'd choose sitting over standing but both were pretty annoying. In the first week, my body hurt in places I didn't think possible and I always had to self-massage before going to bed. At some point, my right foot was so swollen, it was scary. I also have some sort of injury and discoloration on my big toe that I hope goes away someday.
5. Is camp food that bad?
To be honest, no! I had read so many bad things about the food from camp kitchen that I only decided to try it out of curiosity. I realized it was just people exaggerating but then food taste cannot be constant so maybe they weren't exaggerating. The quantity was perfect, they literally served to fill up whatever container you go with. The quality was what I had issues with because on most days, it wasn't so tasty but then no surprises there. It still got the job done. So, if you're yet to go to camp, don't cross out camp food from the list just yet.
6. The weirdest thing I did on camp?
Using a mild if not non-existent menstrual cramp as an excuse to run away from marching. Don't judge. For some weird reason, I found myself amongst the final marching squad for my platoon and to be honest, I wasn't physically ready for it. I had been thinking of how to escape and all it took that cold morning was an emotional trigger. I walked up to the soldier, told her I had cramps and she told me to go sit down. I was supposed to go back after feeling better but I found my way around it. Once again, don't judge.

7. Any camp regrets?
- I kept saying that I would try an Igbo delicacy before leaving camp but I never got around to doing it. There are thousands of such opportunities out here so it's all good.
- This isn't much of a regret but I would have loved to join the OBS (Orientation Broadcasting Service). I happened to submit my beautifully written writeup (if I do say so myself) quite late due to misinformation and unnecessarily long lectures so I couldn't make the team.
- I surely regret not using my sunscreen frequently though I'm pretty sure my skin would still have telltales of overexposure to the sun even if I did.
8. Bonus question: Did you contest for Miss NYSC?
Other than constantly getting the 'are you contesting' question from other corps members, I got it a lot from people at home too. I posted selfies with a full face makeup on my Whatsapp status and everyone automatically thought it was snippets from the pageant.


Well, I didn't contest because I wasn't interested and I'm glad it didn't get to a stage where I would have been forced to. I did model for my platoon during the interplatoon SAED competition though.


So, I asked my good friend Alex for other questions he thinks a post like this should have and he came through with these
Ft. my ridiculously oversized boots

9. Did you really enjoy camp?
Haha... Not quite. I feel like 'enjoy' in this case is very relative. For me, it wasn't much of an enjoyable experience but then I did have fun on some occasions.



10. Did you make friends you want to keep?
I actually suck at making new friends but I did my best so yeah, I have a few ones I definitely want to keep. I also formed new friendships with some old friends and that was like the best thing ever.




11. Did you meet the 'supposed' one?
Hahaha. No! Not even close.
12. Do you now value sleep?
Oh boy, yes I do. Imagine being stuck in lectures from 9am - 2pm and you can't bat an eyelid in peace. Imagine having to wake up as early as 3am just so you can have your bath and freshen up in peace? This wasn't compulsory but that was what worked for me so I stuck with it.
13. Were you in the winning platoon?
This is such a weird question πŸ˜‚ especially because we were in the same platoon.
We were in platoon 9 and though I wouldn't say we were the winning platoon, we did win and get awarded for a good number of competitions. For the benefit of those who don't know what platoons are, remember primary and secondary school when we all had 'houses' for interhouse sports? It's just the same thing. All corps members are placed in platoons and your platoon is basically your family throughout your stay in camp.
14. Hope you enjoyed the mammy life
Every NYSC camp comes with a mammy market where you can get literally everything done.
 From adjusting the ill-fitting clothing items you'd get from NYSC to getting your hair, nails done, to buying almost all kinds of foods, the market promises to cater to virtually all your needs. I mean there was a stall selling pancakes, waffles, smoothies, ice cream and so many unconventional meals in Lagos camp. It's probably the same in other camps too. There's a catch though. Things are quite expensive in mammy so you might want to be prepared for that. That being said, I enjoyed the mammy life in the sense that it had items that provided lots of convenience for me. I'm pretty sure Alex meant some other kind of 'enjoyment' but let's pretend I'm naive Lool.



Bottom line? Camp is really what you make of it. If there's anything I'd say you shouldn't miss out on, it's meeting new people. New 'good' people. That's right about it.
I have plans for my service year and I'm really looking forward to achieving all of them and more. I believe I'm already on track with the CDS (Community Development Service) I joined and where I chose as my PPA (Place of Primary Assignment). I submitted a request letter to have it as my PPA and thankfully, I was posted there.

I'm not sure when next I'd put up a post on here because I've been focusing more on freelance content writing than blogging but this space is always going to be here.
Did I answer your camp related questions? Ja? Fantastisch (Yes and Fantastic in German, lol). I didn't? Kindly ask via the comment section or you could shoot me a dm via Instagram. I promise to reply in good time. Before then though, I'd like to know. What about camp are you looking forward to?
Been to camp? How was your experience like? What was the best part of camp for you?
I always want to hear from you. Kindly leave me your thoughts. xx

Comments

  1. Yeahhhh!!! I'm so ready for camp after this read! Lol! πŸ˜…πŸ˜…. Girl, am coming for camp tutorial and there's nothing like TMI, I want it all!!😁😁...are you sure you didn't see the one?? Not even close...πŸ˜…....E go be jare! Fantastic write up and a lovely read. Good luck bee, and the very best always.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yeahhhh!!! I'm so ready for camp after this read! Lol! πŸ˜…πŸ˜…. Girl, am coming for camp tutorial and there's nothing like TMI, I want it all!!😁😁...are you sure you didn't see the one?? Not even close...πŸ˜…....E go be jare! Fantastic write up and a lovely read. Good luck bee, and the very best always.

    ReplyDelete

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