by Jadesola Williams
” The thing most corpers don’t understand about youth service is that it is a great time to strategize. “
I started my NYSC service year like I imagine most people do, with dread and hope that the year would pass by at lightning speed.
I endured the dreary 3-week orientation period in our poor excuse for a camp in Oyo State and just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, I got posted to a Local Government secretariat in the middle of nowhere.
At that moment, my future flashed before my eyes, and all I could see was one whole year spent watching Africa Magic and engaging in civil servant gossip. All the class and prestige that my father had struggled to help me achieve would be gone. I felt like my world had come crashing down.
Eventually though, after tears and agitation, I managed to summon up all the “leg” I could acquire and was lucky to get transferred to a law firm in Ibadan, the state capital.
For most people, when they hear ‘Ibadan’, they immediately imagine a place that has become famous for being local. In a way, Ibadan in all its ancient beauty seems to have stood still in time, but beyond the accent and the tribal marks, there’s so much more than meets the eye.
I was determined that my youth service year would not be wasted. I didn’t know how I was going to do it but I intended to pack tons of achievement into the year and I did. The thing most corpers don’t understand about youth service is that it is a great time to strategize. You are out of school but not under any real pressure quite yet and most corpers have tons and tons of free time. I know not everyone gets lucky enough to be sent to an ‘urban’ area but wherever you are, you can make the year count.
I decided during service year that going back to sit at home after the year was done was not an option for me. I wouldn’t be one of those corpers who lived off mummy and daddy for 5 years in the hope of landing that Chevron job. I’m proud to say that I achieved my goal.
By the time my service year was done, I had worked in a radio station, practised law, written for a number of online publications, started my own website, learnt French and started a photography company, fully registered. The best part is I excelled at them all.
During this time I realized that, for the most part, you create your own luck. If you work hard, and take the bull by the horns, you almost always will succeed. At the end of the day, the choice is yours. You can either sit back and let life happen to you, or you can put your back into earning the life that you deserve.
It didn’t end the year as a millionaire like I’d hoped but I met a lot of amazing people and experienced life in a whole new way. Above all, I realized that I was capable of achieving more than I could ever imagine, if I just set my mind to it.
I ended up making my NYSC service year one of the best years of my life, and you can too.
Jadesola Williams is a Nigerian by birth. She is an enigma who plans to remain that way.
30 Days, 30 Voices series is an opportunity for young Nigerians from across the world to share their stories and experiences – creating a meeting point where our common humanity is explored.
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija