Campus News

Bethel’s anxiety and stress amp up with ‘Ambush’

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If you have ever stepped on the campus of Bethel College in March or April, you may notice that there are plenty of students looking over their shoulders and holding squirt guns. Anxiety, isolation and paranoia run rampant on the school grounds due to a game called ambush. Holly Morlan explained this phenomenon. "(It's) a game where we are given someone’s name, could be a friend, could be someone [that] we have no idea who they are. We just have to secretly find them outside of a building. [Then] we have to shoot them with a squirt gun.” Morlan and Tanner White were able to share some advice and stories of their experiences of this psychologically interesting game that colleges partake in —ambush. Ambush tends to be a stressful time. Players are trying to fulfill their dreams of becoming spies or assassins, without the actual killing process. Yet, this delightful game can sometimes go overboard. The paranoia and anxiety becomes so great that people desire to get out. "Some people, I would say, are ready to die just because of the paranoia of the game and how you’re always looking over your shoulder," explained White. "Another reason is just stress, which is also caused by paranoia, but stress is… like [a person] that their supposed to kill but they can’t and then they try and try and try.  They're just so frustrated that they're just like 'all right, I guess I’m done.' Perhaps the most famous person to do this was Holly Morlan with her famous suicide during last year's competition. Morlan stated that her attempted murder, Ethan Glasscock killing her in order to kill her target by choice, was because she was just done with all of the pressure. “I was so tired of getting her," said Morlan. "I had tried so many times.” She is not the only one who has driven to great lengths to get her assigned enemy. She described her friend, who drove all the way to Nappanee to get a girl out at a theater audition. "She claimed she had an anxiety attack, but it’s like ‘hello, you’re playing ambush’ so it can cause some anxiety [and] loss of sleep,” said Morlan. This activity can also cause isolation. "You lose your friends," said Morlan. "I’m really mad at my friend right now. I’ll see if I talk to him ever again. Yeah, it can cause major friendship issues, even relationship issues. It can take precedence over that other person… it’s like war except its fake.” It is difficult to build trust during these times of ambush. “Keep each other safe,” stated Morlan as a warning to everyone involved. She also warns players to beware of alliances, because they will turn on each other. "I might have turned on an alliance today you know," said Morlan. "You really can’t trust people, because there are alliances you will build that they might just be using you so be careful.” Morlan continued, "Be careful about the information you give out. Just be careful of people more than your everyday life.” You may ask yourself, 'how far is too far?' “In my opinion, if your causing physical harm to whoever your assassinating, (then) I think that can definitely be considered as too far," stated White, "but besides that, I feel like as long as you’re not physically harming the person, I think you can do whatever head games it takes to win the game or get people out of the game. It takes extreme circumstances to go too far.” As dangerous as this game is, is it still worth playing? Morlan and White both agree on the answer, yes. The psychological side effects of the game are short term and the adrenaline rush of plotting with friends makes the game all worth it.
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