I had just finished Nysc, and I was at the Iyana-Ipaja camp to pick up my certificate and celebrate my freedom from bondage. I remember getting a call from one of my closest friends – he was still doing Nysc, and he had called to ask how I was feeling. I told him I was relieved to finally be free but I was also lost about the future. I was afraid of the dreaded “So, what next?” question.

The period after Nysc is one of the weirdest ever. You are grown and done with school but you are not grown grown because there’s money worry, starting a career and figuring shit out in general. It’s a ball of anxiety.

PS: Nobody has shit figured out. You just get better at managing expectations from this life thing.

This post is for anyone who seems confused about the next step after today. Here’s a list of things you should know:

1) No one has shit figured out.

Just know that you are not alone in the pressure to get it right at first try. Land a great job, get decent money, progress with life. But there is a way the world is and the way we want it to be. Listening to stories from older people is a good way to understand that we never stop trying to figure this life thing out. This is also a good time to get a mentor, especially an older person, so you can see firsthand that we are all just trying our best.

Nysc what next, Buhari

2) Make plans but also be flexible.

“As you go through life you’ll see there is so much that we don’t understand. And the only thing we know is things don’t always go the way we planned.” – Disney lyrics.

Listen to the wisdom from a cartoon for kids. You should apply for the best of anything you want. School, job, anything. But also entertain the fact that it may not come on the first try. The goal is to adapt, restrategize and keep trying.

stretching Nysc what next

3) Find a support system.

At the end of the day, when the party scatters, you need people around you that encourage you financially, emotionally and all-round. This is a tough time and you need all the support and opportunities you can get. Also, you need a place to be vulnerable on the days your chest feels tight.

4) Trust the process.

This sounds cliche and overused but things have a way of coming together in ways you don’t expect. Career plans get thrown in the wind and previously undiscovered paths open up. Think of life as a marathon, you may have a bad start but it doesn’t mean you can’t still finish the race.

handholding Nysc what next

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Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.