Yesterday was my first day after being out of the office for almost two weeks.
The NYSC Passing Out activities were okay. I didn't realise "passing out's" double entendre until Ngozi pointed it out. LOL!!!!!
The week and a half's activities started with a job awareness workshop, which took up a whole day. This was held at the secretariat in Surulere. A whole day of sitting and listening to talks is a bit much to ask of anyone, especially with no food provided. Not that we expected anything from NYSC. Some of the talks were hugely entertaining though and I had quite a good time.
Going to the camp in Iyana-Ipaja everyday was less wonderful but fun nonetheless. We had nothing to do but sit and jist - except for those who were participating in the marchpast. On the first day there, the soldiers attempted to marshall us all into marching. So it turned into a game of 'catch the corper.' Not fun! I eventually retired in the camp building, where a few of us sat until the soldiers tired of their pursuit and instead asked that only interested corpers need remain in the marchpast. Quite a few stayed. And more joined them over the next few days.
I chose to do nothing in these few days, but sit, eat, read and jist. The weather was mostly perfect for sitting outdoors with five out of six days overcast and cool. On the sixth, the sun showed us no mercy and my face is still much darker than usual from the battering I received.
The Passing Out Parade was a bit of an anti-climax, as we all expected to receive our discharge certificates and many had plans lined-up for post-NYSC life. Some people unfortunately did not receive their certificates and I assume are trying to sort this out now.
For the duration of the service year, NYSC found one means or the other to squeeze money out of us. The ending was no different. We were told that if we did not each contribute N500 to the NYSC Foundation, we would not receive our discharge certificates. N500 is a small price to pay, so many of us complied. Then as we 'queued up' to hand in our ID cards and receive our certificates, we were forced to buy a copy of Eko Kopa (the Lagos State NYSC magazine) for another N500. My goodness! They really found a way to stick it to us twice. Anyway, the magazine was a good read (not as good as our Eti-Osa mag, of course, but they tried nonetheless).
So, now NYSC is over. And in many ways, it's quite bittersweet. CD days were always fun for jisting and now that I'll be working a full week, I will no longer have that opportunity for 'concentrated jisting', as I thought of it. For the lucky few who get retained at their places of primary assignment, life goes on as usual but with more pay. For a lot of other people though, this marks the start of a job search and the end of a fairly predicitable phase where you at least knew that you would be getting some money at the end of every month.