“There is nothing as confusing as life after NYSC, you will even think of opening church.”
The opening tweet which started the Twitter thread trending recently. Nigerian undergraduates are the demographic that really can relate to such twitter threads. Comments like, “NYSC… 11 months of wasteful of Human Resources”, and “just a total waste of time with no promise of the future out there” are just a number of examples. As a result, Nigerian undergraduates in their masses are left in a state of indirection and fear of the future for not knowing what to do next after the mandatory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).
Now the big question that needs an honest answer is thus; has NYSC truly outlived its usefulness? Should NYSC be scrapped? Is it really a waste of time? What exactly is wrong with the NYSC and what can be done differently?
Let’s take these questions to find a cure to the post NYSC syndrome:
Has NYSC outlived its usefulness? Should it therefore be scrapped?
This has always been a subject of heated discussion. Quick surveys indicate that 8 out of 10 would agree to the above question without delay. According to Dayo Adesulu’s review published in Vanguard newspaper, the scheme was severely criticised recently in a debate by representatives of 16 secondary schools in Lagos where majority spoke for the motion that “The NYSC scheme has outlived its usefulness” thereby suggesting abolition of the scheme. The benefits of the NYSC (established by Decree no. 24 in May 1973) have also been reviewed several times. One of the main benefits of the National Youth Service Corps is:
‘To inculcate discipline in Nigerian youths by instilling in them a tradition of industry at work, and of patriotic and loyal service to Nigeria in any situation they may find themselves.’
In truth, the compulsory NYSC has recorded some positive results towards its objective. Corps members benefit from skill acquisition programs, engage in community service at the Local Government offices or schools they are posted to, as well as those who form meaningful relationships with other tribes. In addition to these, a recent graduate currently undergoing NYSC testified, in her own words;
“NYSC is some sort of breathing space between your first degree and preparing for the future of work.”
This statement justifies how every fresh graduate should judiciously utilize the circa 1 year period. Key things to note are; breathing space and preparing for the future of work. Breathing space, this means, a break period between first degree education and exploring a new world. Preparing for the future of work are the actual acts you engage in towards launching a career. This leads us to answer other questions on what’s next after NYSC.
What is the real problem with the NYSC scheme? What can be done to make it better?
Here is the thing, there is nothing wrong with the scheme in itself. However, the state of the economy, an ignorant society and the quality of graduates sometimes undermine the scheme’s objectives. Many people consider it as a waste of time. Furthermore because the average Nigerian youth does not plan, just wants to get ‘there’, and lives with the mindset of ‘finish school and get a good-paying job.’ This mindset is often a result of upbringing and lack of exposure to knowledge and how the world works.
You don’t have to wait to complete NYSC to start out on what is next. Before and during NYSC, you should plan and launch actions towards the kind of life you want. Perhaps, you already completed NYSC and now wondering what next. It is never too late to start out right. Don’t be a part of the statistics of Nigerian graduates complaining that there are no jobs in Nigeria.
In conclusion, you don’t need to wait around to get a job. Build on your ideas, expand your network, take professional courses (free or paid) online and learn a new skill, start a business which could be online; and above all, live intentionally and deliberately. This guide to career planning which was found in one of the comments on the earlier mentioned tweet, should be your first step.