Post NYSC Trauma!
I stumbled on a post broached by a friend on 'Post-NYSC life', and the post brought back some terrible memories.
Life after NYSC is full of uncertainties and fears. When I rounded up my service in 2006 and came down to Abuja, I had thought that the longest I would stay at home was two months; that I should be able to secure a job as soon as possible. I was staying with my older brother and his family.
A week after I arrived Abuja, I started hunting for job. I was everywhere in town submitting applications, both in offices and online. My older brother was always there for me, giving me transport fares and feeding me. One month passed. Two months gone. Three months gone; no job. There were no aptitude tests I didn't go for. I even had to travel to Lagos twice for aptitude tests, all to no avail. Six months gone! Eight months! I didn't believe it.
Depression started setting in. Nothing depresses a man like when he wakes up in the morning and there's nowhere to go. I became so depressed. I lost weight. My skin colour changed. It became so bad that some boys who campaigned for me in the University during our Faculty election saw me in the neighbourhood and asked if I was related to 'Adunga Jnr'. I wasn't looking like the 'Adunga Jnr' they knew in the University again. I just smiled and told them I was the one. I'm sure so many things ran through their minds as they left me that day.
It was just awful. It was one day that a friend who had stayed like Three years in the labour market before me visited and saw my condition and quarreled me so hard, that I regained my consciousness. He asked if I was the only one going for all the aptitude tests that I had been writing. He said self-pity would not help me, that I should see unemployment as a national problem and not just my problem alone.
Those words helped me so greatly. I remembered the Intercontinental Bank aptitude test that we went for here in Abuja that had more than 10,000 graduates in attendance. And the exam held simultaneously in about 5 other centers across the country. So, I consoled myself and started getting better again.
I started looking brighter. The knowledge that I wasn't the 'only one in the labour market' helped me a lot. My pastor came up with a business idea for me, “newspapers distribution”. I knew nothing about the business, but I was ready to do anything to keep myself busy. I accepted to do the business. He discussed with a good brother and friend, a fellow church member, who brought out money for the registration of the business. Registration and all the necessary things done, I started the business.
The business, though small, was taking me out of the house, giving me access to information, especially job vacancies, and paying some of my bills. Some of my friends said they won't stoop so low to do newspaper business, but funny enough they always visited me at the newspapers depot to read newspapers for free and get 'transport fare' from me.
I kept myself busy with the business and gradually got myself back. Atleast, I wasn't asking my brother for money again. I could buy cloths. The business gave me so much experience, and even connections. Today, I can walk in to any (print) media house in Nigeria and receive attention if I introduce myself. Yes, I know what I'm talking about.
Post NYSC days can be really traumatic if you don't secure a job immediately. Unfortunately, the jobs are not there and so many young people still walk into this 'pit' ignorantly, because there's nobody to caution them, hence the rise in crime rate in the country today.
Three ways to escape this traumatic period;
- Learn a skill while in school, or during youth service, or immediately after NYSC. My Foundation, GRAFO, wrote NYSC in 2011 for collaboration to train Corps Members in skills that would empower and keep them busy after the service year. The Nigerian factor played out; our letter was said to have been 'kept in view', only for us to hear later that NYSC had started training corps members in skills. We don't have problem with that, as long as they are doing it well, as we proposed.
- Don't neglect any job. Like I said above, I started selling newspapers as a graduate and it didn't take anything from me. So, get any job you can lay your hands on, to take you from home and pay some of your bills. As you go out, you mingle with people and get information about job vacancies. A little beginning can take you far.
- Get your Masters, if you can afford it. Your chance of getting a job is wider with a Masters degree.
Post NYSC trauma is real, avoid it. Today, when I receive messages from younger ones lamenting their long stay at home, I understand perfectly what they are passing through, because I have been there. Like I was advised above; please, don’t kill yourself over your situation, there are people in worse situations than you and they are happily alive. Keep pushing; your break-through shall surely come.