Friday, January 20, 2012

Day and Night in NYSC Camp

Hello pretty people!

Today I want to address the typical day and night in NYSC Camp. In my experience, the days were much easier to handle than the nights - I will explain at the end of this post.

3:00am - 4:00am: This is when the the average day in camp starts (yikes!). At this time, you will begin to stir from sleep because your roommates have started waking up, rushing to bathe and use the bathroom before the rush of people at 4:00am.

4:00am - 5:00am: About 90% of the camp is awake by now, and lines begin to form to bathe, brush your teeth, and whatever bathroom needs you have (yuck!). Also at this time, the blasted OBS (Orientation Broadcasting System) team begins their daily broadcast. They start off with the Nigerian Anthem, then the NYSC Anthem, and whoever's on duty makes way too much noise about how it's time to wake up and get ready for Early Morning Meditation and Drills. Since they are a radio station, you will be subject to whatever music they decide to play... Much to my chagrin, the OBS team in my batch favored Mariah Carey and Celine Dion - No, my heart does NOT want to go on, you wicked people!
Everyone starts to assemble on the parade ground by 4:30am. Truthfully, most people get to the parade ground  by 4:55am, just in time for...

5:00am - 7:30am: Early Morning Meditation, Drills and Lectures. The first official order of the day is singing the Nigerian anthem, reciting the pledge, and then singing the NYSC anthem. Trust me, by the 4th day in camp, you'll be sick and tired of said anthems - especially the NYSC anthem, which is sung before AND after EVERY SINGLE program. After that's taken care of, the platoon on duty is responsible for prayers and meditation. Beforehand, the platoon leaders would have selected a Christian and Muslim representative to lead in prayers. The meditation is a short poem/essay written by another representative in the platoon. The general topic has something to do with Nigeria and/or NYSC.

After meditation, the corpers are addressed by the Camp Director or other official in charge. Here's where the schedule for the day's read aloud, and corpers are scolded for bad behavior from the night before (lol). Then it's time for physical training by the soldiers. Now, I don't know about other camps, but in Lagos, all we did were light calisthenics - quite disappointing if you ask me. Physical training goes on for about 20 to 30 minutes, after which it's time to sing and dance a la Man 'O' War staff. Most people enjoy this portion :)

Next up is lecture time! Now, it can be a series of back-to-back lectures, or one looooooooooooong lecture on whatever. Topics range from Language (they teach you simple phrases in the dominant language of the region) and Health to Community Development and more. You may or may not catch up on sleep at this point.

7:30am - 9:00am: Breakfast Time! After lectures, corpers are released for breakfast. If you haven't taken a bath, now's the ideal time because while the early morning meditation's going on, the bathrooms are being cleaned. Besides, you may sweat during the physical activity, so... I quickly learned to wait until this time to bathe. If you want to wash your clothes, now's a good time to get it done too.

9:00am - 12/1/2:00pm: Not another round of lectures?!?!?! This is the second most painful part of the day. You will be subjected to hours and hours of lectures. I don't know if you've noticed, but the art of public speaking is quite absent in Nigeria. People like to talk, hearing their voices, while delivering little to no pertinent information. You should attend with a friend, book, phone, hat to cover your face while you sleep off; if you're genuinely interested in the topic, it's advisable to have a pen and notebook for notes.

12/1/2:00pm - 4:00pm: Lunch and Personal Administration. This is downtime and very needed. You can take a nap; have lunch; complete "chores and errands" you have; hang out with friends; read a book; watch people; participate in any platoon activities if interested; make phone calls; etc. Really, it's a good time of day IF you can keep yourself entertained in one way or another. If you're bored with nothing to do, you'll hate yourself, camp, NYSC, Nigeria, and whoever talked you into signing up.

4:00pm - 6:00pm: Marching! BYYYYYYYYYY THE RIGHT, QUICK MARCH TIME, LEFT RIGHT, LEFT RIGHT, LEFT RIGHT, HALT! I quite enjoyed marching. Lol, I was actually made my platoon commander because I apparently have a commanding voice - *giggles* Lil' ol' me? Commanding? HECK YEAH!

6:00pm - 8:00pm: Dinner. Yes, it's time to eat again and more down-time to shower, have dinner, go to fellowship if you've joined one, etc. At this point, the "bad" corpers head over to Mami Market for a jolly good time. Food, drinks, dancing, gisting, hanging out...that's really it.

8:00pm - 10:00pm: See above. There's really no difference, unless there's a general camp activity, e.g. Drama and Dance competition, Miss Camp pageant, Welcome Party, etc.

Night aka practically Hell
10:00pm: LIGHTS OUT! I hated having to go to sleep every night. Remember what my bed/room situation was like. Having to lie in that uncomfortable bed, in the heat, without my close friends/family was as good as Hell to me. If you're lucky, you fall asleep as soon as you hit the bed. If you're like me, you stay awake for the next hour praying to God to knock you out, cursing the very idea of NYSC, crying for the comfort of home, until mercifully you drift off into sleep... I hope you prayed to sleep THROUGH the night. God forbid you wake up because you're covered in sweat, or you can feel the mosquitoes chomping away on your body!

Really, camp isn't that bad. Well, at night it is. During the day, it's not. Some people got passes to leave and would only come in the daytime - lucky sissies that they are!!! But you are a die-hard like me with Tiger blood running through our veins, ready to conquer anything and everything like Chuck Norris... This is where I stop.

Hugs until next time!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Guide to Surviving NYSC Orientation Camp - Platoon Registration and Accommodation

And so I was saying...

Platoon Registration
When you've submitted your forms and been given the go-ahead, it's time to report to your platoon and get registered with them. You have a Platoon Coordinator and 2-3 Military Commandants. Your platoon members can potentially become your family for the next 3 weeks, so mingle and get to know some people. You might form lifelong friendships, or even meet your future wife/hubby.

Anyways, you may spend another hour plus trying to get registered with your platoon. It depends on if they're registering you on a first-come, first-served basis, or by your number. This is the point where you

  • Get your NYSC kit = Khaki shirt, khaki trouser, belt, NYSC cap, 2 pairs of socks, 1 pair of boots, 1 pair of white tennis shoes, 2 white t-shirts, and 2 pairs of shorts. Please be prepared, as all or none of the above may fit you. I was lucky - everything fit! WAIT! On one of the numerous forms you fill out, they ask for your clothing and shoe sizes... so why do they still give you kits randomly? NO SENSE WHATSOEVER.
  • Fill out your information for what will be your NYSC id. You'll need to attach another passport picture here. *My advice about always having passport pictures will help you a lot. It doesn't stop at camp.*
  • They might also give you a booklet which has lots of vital information in it, such as the Camp Schedule, the NYSC anthem, rules and regulations, etc.
*It took me about an hour to get registered with Platoon 5!!! Well, it could have gone a lot faster, except that the boy who was assisting the Platoon Coordinator refused to call my number. In his defense, I skipped the line :) When I got to my platoon, there had to have been at least 100 people in front of me, but my cute (sometimes) little self wormed my way to the front of the line :p. As in, I was actually sitting next to the Platoon Coordinator while she processed others. Alas, they finally called my name (much earlier than it should have been) and I smiled and greeted everyone in charge, got my kit and went to settle my...

Accommodation - Finally!!!
Hopefully your experience is easier than mine and you get a bed with as little stress as possible.

*When I first arrived in the camp and dropped off my luggage at the dorms, I was told to write my name down on a list, and come back at 9pm - at which point they would start giving out beds. Well I was there at 8:30pm sitting on my suitcase, when I noticed a gaggle of females following an older woman. I deduced that she was a camp official and my street sense told me to follow along - BEST IDEA EVER! She WAS giving out room/bed allotments. She went into each room looking for empty beds or space to put in extra bunks. After going through all the rooms on the ground floor, with about 6 extra girls getting settled, we got  up to the first floor. There was a corridor that had been converted into a room, and the lady walked in. At this point I was right behind her, and she said an extra bunk could fit in the room by the door. How about I FLEW outside and grabbed a bunk with another girl to claim that spot!

Unfortunately, we ran into a little issue - the occupants of the room were NOT having it. Putting a bunk by the door meant blocking off the main air supply into the room, and there were very few windows, which made for VERY uncomfortable living. It turned into a battle of wits, strength and raised voices. They tried to push us out, and we pushed back because we were determined at all costs to stay. The alternative was to sleep outside and there was NO WAY that would happen to me! Thankfully, the girls relented and voila...I had a bed/room! My bunk mate went downstairs to get mattresses while I watched her belongings. My mattress was about an inch thick, very uncomfortable and I felt like I was sleeping directly on the spring. 

You can negotiate with your bunk mate about sleeping on the top or bottom bunk. I chose the bottom bunk because I didn't want to worry about hopping on and off. I also had the advantage of storing my stuff (suitcase, buckets, etc) under the bed. Top bunkers have to either keep their stuff on their bed, on the side of the bed, or ask if their bunk mate to share their space under the bed.

Below is a picture of my bed! Not pretty at all, right? I got the bottom bunk as is plain to see - all pink bedding :) You kinda have to find any little thing that will make you happy - for me, it's seeing pink :p

All in all, I arrived camp at 4pm, and was settled properly by about 9:30/10 pm. From what I heard, I was lucky, because some people started their process at 8 am.

*NOTE* I must mention that people were still arriving to camp as late as Days 4 and 5, and got registered. The likelihood of getting beds are okay-ish, as a lot of our aje-butter counterparts would have elected to leave camp by then, thereby freeing up beds. 

Visit my previous post for links to other blogs chronicling the first day at camp.

So, what to write about next... A typical day at camp? How to survive/endure camp days? Tips and tricks to ease camp life? We'll see.

Au revoir ma petite jolie! 
Berry kisses from me to you.

Guide to surviving NYSC Orientation Camp - Arrival and Registration

Yoo hoo!

I've been getting a little offline feedback about the blog and I'm pleased that people find it informative, accurate and fun to read. You can also leave comments or questions at the bottom of each blog post, anonymously or otherwise.

So, it's time to face the actual arrival into camp. I'll split it into 2 posts as there's a lot to write. At this point, you should have mentally psyched yourself for the upcoming challenge... and it will challenge you to the very core of your butteriness!

There are differing opinions on whether you should arrive at your camp on the first day or come in on the second day. The advantage of getting there on Day 1 is that you're pretty much guaranteed a bed. The advantage of getting there on Day 2 is you spend one less day in camp, and the crowd is less than the first day (I think).

*NOTE* Regardless of what day you arrive in camp, you will sweat, you will stand in all sorts of lines, you will fill countless forms, you will curse the day you agreed to sign up for NYSC, you will come to realize that the 'S' in NYSC stands for STRESS; and a host of other unpleasant things. My advice to you is to pray for peace that passes understanding (AMEN to THAT!) and find/make a friend who will go through everything with you.

First things first: when you get to the gate, your bag(s) will be searched to make sure you haven't brought in any contraband (see previous post). They may also ask to see your Call Up letter and passport, so have them handy.

*I arrived on the second day. My aunt dropped me off and wanted to come in with me to make sure I settled in okay, but they said she couldn't come in with me, so I was completely on my own. I had to put on a brave face and keep my eyes and ears open. FYI, if you want to get anything done during your NYSC year, you MUST keep your eyes and ears open. Ask fellow corpers questions about what you need to do and in what order, otherwise you will be yelled at by any number of NYSC officials.*

Depending on what day you arrive, and what camp you go to, there might be a waiting list for beds/rooms OR you'll have to wing it and ask someone to secure a bed for you. I don't think they allot a bed to you until after you're done registering.

*Since I arrived "late" most of the rooms and beds were already taken. I was advised to leave my luggage by the dorms and go to complete the registration process. This is where I found a friend (well, camp acquaintance, as I saw her only twice after that day). She was ahead of me and seemed to have someone helping her out, so I quickly latched on.

This is where it starts to get confusing. Remember what I said about keeping eyes and ears open? The first thing you should do when you get to the registration point is look for anyone who's already filling forms and ask them where you should start. What you need to complete the registration:

  • Call Up letter
  • Passport
  • Passport photographs (if you took my advice from 2 posts ago, you'd have a lot left over from the Abuja NYSC Directorate registration point)
  • Stapler/Hole puncher - Don't bring one in, because there are market women hovering around selling the use of their staplers and punchers. This is where having small denominations (N10, N20, N50) will come in handy.
On the whole, there are about 6 to 8 forms that you need to fill. The forms all contain THE EXACT SAME INFORMATION! What NYSC needs to do is digitize the whole process, starting from the very first point of registration at the NYSC Directorate. This will reduce the amount of paperwork corpers have to go through, and everything will be a much smoother process. Anyways, they will take your picture (the only time a computer was brought into the whole process!). In addition, they will give you a State Code number that has the following format:

2-letter state code/Year and Batch/Number e.g. LA/11C/0000 = Lagos, 2011 Batch C, 0000

Usually the last digit of your number will tell you what Platoon you're in. Each corper is placed in a platoon. Most of your camp activities will be conducted by platoons - morning drills, marching, man 'o' war, camp sanitation duties, etc. Find a friend in your platoon to make your days go by easier.

*Unfortunately, I can't remember all the forms and in what order I picked them up - Sawry :( Again, just ask around. Here's where I began to lose touch with my new friend. We started the registration process together, but I finished at least an hour before she did. I figured out what forms I needed, filled them out quickly and accurately, and spent 30 minutes watching her while she tried to fill out her forms. Seeing that it was getting dark very quickly, and I still hadn't found a room/bed or gotten my supplies from the camp market (bucket, etc), I exchanged numbers with her and went to register with my platoon.

Next post will deal with the Platoon Registration and finally getting accommodation...


For other people's experiences on their first day in camp and registering, go to:

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Guide to surviving NYSC Orientation Camp - What NOT to bring

Hi butters!

Nigeria is basically on lock-down right now, with the strike and protests against the government, so I have lots of free time on my hands. I know i said the next post would be on Arrival and Registration at the camp, but I want to throw in a WHAT NOT TO BRING TO CAMP for good measure...

  • Mattress - From what I've heard and read from other blogs, if you bring in a mattress, it could potentially be seized by camp officials at the gate. In MY experience though, after 2 weeks of sleeping on the thinnest mattress ever, my dad brought in a new mattress for me. All I had to do was take it to the camp store and get it registered - they wrote my name and state code on the mattress, so I could leave with it when it was time to go home. I guess it depends on which camp you're in. I gave out the mattress the day we  left camp, because I had no use for it at home.
  • Cutlery - At the back of your Call Up letter, there's a list of items you can should come with, and cutlery's mentioned. However, they will seize it from you at the camp gate, because according to them, they can be used as weapons. If that's the case, then why ask us to bring them in the first place? *yet another thing about NYSC that makes no sense*
  • Clippers - This is for the guys. They made guys turn in their clippers at the gate. Again, their reasoning was that they could be used as weapons. I wonder how though... *Give me your phone/money or else I'll cut your hair?* Beats me
  • Plain clothes/shoes - Well, like I said in the last post, some camps allow corpers to wear plain clothes on Sundays for church. In my camp (Lagos), only the guys were allowed to wear their plain clothes. Maybe bring a pair of jeans and 3 tops, just in case you're allowed?
  • iPad, iPod, iAnything and the like - For me, all I needed was my phone. Most smartphones these days hold movies, music, etc, so it's best to carry just one thing with you. It lessens the likelihood of something getting lost or stolen. 
  • A huge suitcase with lots of load - First reason? It's too much work having to lug around a big suitcase around when you get to camp. Second reason? If you get the top bunk, you might not have space to store said suitcase. I was lucky, I got the bottom bunk (there ARE downsides to getting the bottom bunk though). Third reason? I think it'll attract thieves. The more it looks like you have, the higher the chances you'll be targeted for theft. 
  • ATTITUDE - Being in Nigeria in general, will force you to gain or feign humility. This increases exponentially if you're a corper and is multiplied by infinity if you're a foreign-trained graduate (most people already think you're spoiled, so will do their best to cut you down to size). You WILL be treated like dirt by the camp officials at different junctures. So, if you're a MISS THANG with attitude, check it at the camp gate. A lot of "Yes Ma/Sir, No Ma/Sir, Please Ma/Sir, Thank you Ma/Sir" combined with smiles and puppy eyes will serve you better.

That's about all I can think of. The next post WILL cover arrival and registration for real this time.


Monday, January 9, 2012

Guide to surviving NYSC Orientation Camp - Items you need in Camp

*Takes deep breath in - Is this something I want to dredge up from memory? I swore I would forget all about this after spending 21 days in camp... Ok, it's for the benefit of others, so here goes...*

So, I spent 21 days in NYSC Orientation Camp! Now, let me tell you why this is a major accomplishment in my life:
  1. I never went to boarding school. EVER. Not in Nigeria. Not for college. Not for anything. The only person I've ever shared a room or bathroom with is my younger sister - not 31 other females, as was common in NYSC camp.
  2. I am accustomed to constant power, clean running water, AC units, washing and drying machines, etc. Living in camp is like going hiking or back-packing = no frills lifestyle.
  3. I am a VERY PICKY eater. Well, I never ate the Camp kitchen food, so...

Seeing as most people who know me think I'm a real softie, the butterest of ajes, daddy's girl, etc... I stayed in camp to prove a point: I AM STRONGER THAN YOU OR I THINK! Yay me! *doing victory dance*

One week before camp was supposed to start, I, in my infinite wisdom, decided to take an R+R trip to England. In my mind, I wanted to treat and spoil myself a little, before embarking on a 3-week period of drills and no frills. In retrospect, that might have been a bad idea. It's like moving from the Waldorf Astoria to Motel 6... 

Well, I picked up my Call Up letter in Port Harcourt (my city of residence). When I saw where I was posted to, I literally laughed out loud... my father said "No Way" and my mum called from the US saying "Go back to Abuja now, because there's no way in hell you are going there!" Long story short, I was reposted to Lagos :)

Now, there is a list of things that you should have with you during the camp period. Some of these things can be brought with you from home, or you can buy them at the "Mami Market" when you've settled into camp. 

List of things you need in camp
  • White shorts, shirts and socks. BRING from home. I would say at least 3 pairs. This is what you will be wearing for the next 21 days. Some camps allow plain clothes on Sundays; mine didn't (actually they did, but only for guys - SEXIST LAGOS CAMP!!!)
  • White sneakers. BRING. NYSC will supply you with one, but you'd be lucky if they fit you. Other alternative is to exchange with someone else or buy at the market. It's better to bring one that's easy to clean because they get dirty very quickly. I bought one that all I needed to do was wipe it down with water and voila!
  • Dettol. BRING or BUY. It's just to disinfect your bath water, which brings me to...
  • Bucket. BUY in camp Mami Market. There's no sense in traveling around with a bucket, and chances are that you'll want to leave it in camp when you're leaving anyways.
  • Towel. BRING from home. At least you know it's clean. Anything you buy from Mami Market may or may not be secondhand. Now is NOT the time for vintage/thrift shopping!
  • Bedsheets, pillow cases, and a pillow. BRING from home. Again, the peace of knowing what you're sleeping on is clean. Mattresses will be provided by NYSC. It is best to "double up" with the mattresses, as they are about 1 to 2 inches thick. I basically slept on the spring for 2 weeks because I got one exceedingly thin mattress :(
  • Handkerchief. BRING from home. There will be BUCKETS of sweating. Do yourself a favor.
  • Sleep clothes. BRING from home. *note that it is ridiculously hot at night, so a large t-shirt or long tank top and little shorts will suffice. In my experience, I went from fully clothed at night to sleeping in my underwear by the end of the camp*
  • Underwear. BRING from home - DUH!!! Although I have to mention that I discovered disposable underwear at one of the stalls in the market. It's not a bad option, seeing as someone stole one of my panties! Ewwwww, how do you steal someone's underwear??? NASTY!
  • Bathroom slippers. BRING or BUY. Trust me, going barefoot for even a second in camp is NOT an option. The bathrooms are filthy! The bedrooms are dirty! The corridors are icky! Just have something on your feet at all times. 
  • Detergent. BUY from market. Again, this reduces the amount of load you're bringing into camp. Remember how I said camp offers no frills? You have to wash your clothes, underwear, and bed things. However, if you're lucky the mami market will have vendors offering laundry services! The only caveats are: you run the risk of your stuff getting lost (this one vendor lost my shorts, shirt and socks and had the nerve to grumble when I switched to someone else) and the money quickly adds up. It costs N50 per item, N100 for your khaki trousers or shirt, extra N50 if you want your items ironed. I'm not sure how much washing your shoes cost.
  • Flashlight and batteries. BRING or BUY. Seeing as there's hardly ever any electricity, and you might want to read at night, having the flashlight helps.
  • Toilet paper. BUY in Mami Market. The bathroom situation - well, I'll give tips in another post - but you do need toilet paper. Always carry around with you, just in case...
  • Painkillers, malaria medicine, allergy medicine, etc. BRING from home. You do not want to make the mistake of getting ill in camp. The camp clinic is a BIG JOKE! True story - A corper from the previous batch donated at least a million naira worth of medicine to our camp clinic, and barely a few days later, they claimed to have run out of medicine *insert BB straight face here* WTH?????
  • Padlock. BRING or BUY. Well, I didn't take any with me because I went to camp with a hard  Samsonite suitcase - no padlocks required. And anyways, thieves apparently were simply tearing people's bags with scissors or knives to get to their things. 
  • Waist pouch/Fanny pack/Bum bag (or for the more fashion-conscious, a cross-body purse). BRING from home. The bum bags are more popular because they won't bang against you when you're active and your hands are free to do whatever. You need it to carry your money, phone, small valuables, pens, etc around with you at all times. You should sleep with it too. 
  • Good old CASH MONEY! If you're like me, you would need money for laundry, to charge your phone, to eat and drink, to purchase necessary items, to buy UNnecessary items, etc. You can budget N1000 per day to cover the basics. Make sure you bring smaller denominations... I ran into issues because I had only N1000 notes most of the time. 
  • Plate/Bowl or Food flask with Cup. BRING or BUY. I never ate the food provided by the camp kitchen, so I never needed these items. I only drank coffee (yup, we had a coffee stand) and ate chicken pie from TFC (Tasty Fried Chicken); shawarma (yes, we also had 3 vendors making shawarma); small chops, suya; and noodles. Ooooooh! I also bought akara in the morning (take one notch from my Aje-Butter belt), and had plantain and/or sweet potatoes for dinner. They cost N10 per piece, so it wasn't expensive and I got full on 5 pieces generally. 
  • Mosquito net. Erm, considering that I still got bitten by mosquitoes EVERY NIGHT and caught malaria 3 weeks after camp, I'm not sure this having this helped. Maybe BRING mosquito repellent? But you must religiously apply it on your skin! MUST!!!

I think I'll split the Guide to Surviving NYSC Orientation Camp into different posts. It's a lot to take in at once. Coming up next, Guide to Surviving NYSC Orientation Camp  - Arrival and Registration.


NYSC Mobilization - Registration Process for Aje-Butters

Hello fellow butters! Happy New Year!!!

I took a short break from continuing with this blog because of a little parting gift a la NYSC Camp mosquitoes!!! Yup, you guessed right...MALARIA! It has to be the worst I've felt in forever! I had to miss work for 1 whole week, was in the hospital with an IV (aka drip), and had no appetite and even less energy.

*note to all Aje-Butters returning to Nigeria after a significant amount of time* You MUST take anti-malaria drugs!!!

Anyhow, let me get to the topic at hand: Registering for NYSC. I would like to say that this is an easy process - it actually is, IF you know what is required ahead of time and get everything in order. Otherwise, you may have to take more than 1 trip to the NYSC Directorate Office (in Abuja) to complete your registration.

For this blog's intents and purposes, I am only focusing on the requirements for Foreign-Trained Graduates.

Step 1: Stalking the NYSC website

You need to constantly check the NYSC website (here's the link again - NYSC Website) for the upcoming batch's timetable. It gives you information on:

  • Registration dates
  • Orientation dates
  • Requirements for Foreign-Trained Graduates
  • Collection of Call-Up Letters
Now that you know when the registration period is, it's time to get your documents together and head out to the NYSC Directorate Office located in Abuja.

Step 2: Gathering the required documents

In order to complete the registration for NYSC, foreign-trained graduates need ORIGINAL and (AT LEAST 6) photocopies of the following:

  1. First degree certificate/diploma - BA, B.Sc, HND
  2. Official First degree transcript
  3. Marks sheets (for Indian schools - not really sure what that is)
  4. High School diploma/certificate - this includes WASC, WAEC, GCE, SSCE, NECO, IGCE, O Levels. If you went to secondary school in Nigeria, your original WAEC/SSCE certificate was sent to your secondary school 5 years after graduation. If you never picked it up, go there and look for it.
  5. Registration certificate with the Medical/Dental Council of Nigeria (for Doctors only)
  6. Registration certificate with the Pharmacist Council of Nigeria (for Pharmacists only)
  7. Nigerian Passport (And foreign passport if you have one) showing the following:
    1. First departure date from Nigeria
    2. Student Visa
    3. Last arrival date into Nigeria
  8. Passport Photographs - Here is where I tell you to get at least 30 passport photographs, because you will need them over and over and OVER again at different points throughout the year. You might as well just have a whole bunch ahead of time and carry them in your purse or wallet.
Just in case the requirements change, click NYSC - Foreign Trained Graduates to confirm.

Step 3: Registering

You MUST register IN PERSON at the NYSC Directorate Office in Abuja. No, your parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, best friends, etc cannot submit the documents on your behalf. 

Hopefully, at this point, you have collected all the required documents AND photocopies together. Please check to ensure that your name is the same on all your documents. I had to go to a court across the street to get an affidavit swearing that I was the same person, simply because my SSCE certificate had just my first and last names (all other documents have my first, middle and last names on them).

When you get to the office, you have to keep your ears open and have a humble demeanor. Ask politely where you need to submit your documents, and wait in line if there's one (*Note* You will be doing A LOT of waiting for the next 12-15 months... Get used to it and bring a book or magazine with you). 

If you have all your documents and passport photographs with you, then you're basically sailing through the registration process. Once they put all your things in order, they will let you know when and where to pick up your Call Up letter. 

Step 4: Collecting your Call Up letter

The Call Up letter shows your NYSC number, the state where you are posted to, and some other stuff that I can't remember. You generally pick up your Call Up letter at the NYSC Office in your state of residence (or Abuja) - let the NYSC official know where you will be at the time.

The Call Up letter is ready about 1 week before Orientation Camp starts. This gives you time to prepare for your relocation to the new state where you shall reside for the next 12 months. 

  1. Foreign graduates are NO LONGER allowed to serve in their state of preference. (This is one of the first signs you see when you get to the NYSC Directorate office, AND it is also stated on their website.) All I will say to this is... No comment :)
  2. ALWAYS carry the following with you because you will most definitely need them.
    1. Passport photographs
    2. Pen

Other blogs discussing their NYSC experience:
Next post will cover the dreaded ORIENTATION CAMP!!! Brace yourselves, it's not very pretty.

**update** You need your passport to pick up your call up letter **