Making most out of national service year

BY: Cephas Kwaku Debrah

I congratulate all national service persons on their posting to various user agencies across the country to contribute to the socio-economic development of Ghana.

Remember that this period is for you to plan, learn, build a network and inculcate virtues that will help you in years to come and not just to pass out with a certificate.

The service period of 12 months is a critical stage in your life. Some think the service period is a waste of their abilities which could have been used profitably in real employment.

Others describe it as “national suffering”, not National Service.

Interestingly, being able to make the most out of this period or not depends on your mindset.

If you really desire to make a difference with your service year, you will need to break free from the wrong mindset and purpose in your heart to make this period worthwhile.

See this period as your first job or primary place of assignment. Offer the best of yourself irrespective of where you have been posted to.

First impressions count

Be available always, build good relationship with your superiors, colleagues and even those you might have higher qualifications than you. Their recommendation can secure you your permanent job.

At your place of post, you might be running errands or doing what people call “donkey work” but do it with outmost excellence.

This could be a test of your character, temperament and work ethics.

If you are fortunate to find yourself in an educational institution where you have to assist in teaching of students, resolve to be of good example.

The impact you will make in the life of a student won’t affect only him or her but an entire generation.A gentle compliment, a reassuring touch, a workshop or seminar which you organise for these students can be a lasting legacy in their lives.

Allowance

The allowance paid is little but with proper planning, you can save something. You need to discard the warped mentality that you cannot save from the GH¢559 given you.

Your attitude towards this ‘little’ which you are receiving determines how you will spend your ‘big’ salary someday.

Remember that it is not the amount of money that determines how you spend, it is your habits that determine your dealings with money.

Take advantage of this period to build financial habits you will need in future. Do not spend before you save but rather save before you spend.

Let me help you with a guideline; you can use 60 per cent of your monthly allowance on living expenses, 10 per cent as miscellaneous for emergencies, 10 per cent as tithe and the rest (20%) as your savings or investment.

You can scale these figures up or down, based on your expenses and where you live.

Trust me, your savings will become handy when you end your NSS. Look around your area of posting if there are business opportunities which you can invest in.

I know some friends that were selling recharge cards, pastries, poultry eggs, bread and clothing. You can equally engage in photography, farming, beads making or take up some professional or international courses.

Do not let this period go waste. Build yourself up; read wide, impact a life, be abreast of developments in your area of study, take a course. In all, make sure this period of your life becomes worthwhile.

The writer is a former Teaching and Research Assistant at the Department of Herbal Medicine,
Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST),
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.