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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Opinion: Something smells Fishy, Camp

A+2022+Fish+Camp+T-Shirt.
Photo by A Nguyen

A 2022 Fish Camp T-Shirt.

As an introvert, my worst nightmare has manifested multiple times in my two years as a Texas A&M student.
The first, and most memorable time, was my mother dropping me off in the parking lot of Reed Arena. My draft notice had come in, and I was being shipped off to the Fish Camp theater of my introvert war.
Let me set the scene. The sun was rising over the horizon, and you could hear the barbaric yawps of overzealous counselors, thirsty for freshman blood.
While being pulled from my mom, I cried and told her I couldn’t believe I let someone pressure me into signing up for what seemed to be the impending death of my social battery.
Two years later, the shell shock has worn off, and I fully regret attending Fish Camp.
Fish Camp, “an Aggies’ first tradition,” is a three-day camp for eager, wide-eyed freshmen where they’re trained to become redass Ags. Throughout the duration, impressionable youth learn about A&M traditions and their respective Wildcat.
Along with Fish Camp’s educational aspects, they preach about lasting friendships and meaningful encounters. However, my Fish Camp experience was anything but.
I will preface this by saying many people adore the comradery they sourced from this experience, but I, and many introverts alike, did not. Fish Camp is not for everyone, and that’s OK.
My first grievance to be made with Fish Camp surrounds the culture of the counselors. Your counselors make or break your experience, and college students obsessed with their next Instagram post shouldn’t hold the future of a young Aggie in their extremely tattooed hands.
Some counselors are obviously there for new followers and not to build lasting friendships. I was debased to a number; a follower count. My purpose came down to which pictures I posted and if I tagged them or not. A month after my session, the group chats went silent, and I never heard from them again.
Item two: the peer pressure surrounding Fish Camp enlistment. There’s an intense amount of pressure put on these 18-year-olds to do their duty and attend camp. I never really wanted to go, but as someone who applied to A&M from out of state, I was coerced into signing up. I needed to do my bit and become a member of the Aggie Army.
With the endless propaganda and pressure, I found myself decked out in war paint ready to ensure every anti-Ag had been converted, and I hated every second of it. I asked myself if I really thought this was the best way to learn about the traditions and if this made me want to become more of a two percenter.
One of my biggest issues surrounds the “trust” that is allegedly built in these camps. I won’t spoil the secrets of camp because the counselors seem to get a rush from controlling completely unaware freshmen. There are many moments where you’re supposed to open up and trauma dump. It’s supposed to ‘get you close’ with your campmates, but all it did was make me extremely uncomfortable.
I met these people on a bus merely hours ago, and now I am supposed to trust them with my deepest secrets and fears? Absolutely not. Oh, and by the way, there is no escape. You are virtually unreachable because your phones don’t have service. I contemplated calling for reinforcements to save me from this nightmare camp, but unfortunately, I was alone to fight the internal war.
Current students, I call you to question your experience and ask yourself what attributed to the positive or negative aspects of your Fish Camp service. I salute all the brave Aggies who completed their tour without displaying fear and even salute the ones who shed a few tears for home.
Fish Camp counselors, I speak to you directly now. As leaders, how could you make these experiences less intimidating for introverts? How do you affect these students’ overall enjoyment of future Aggie affairs? Finally, don’t make this experience about yourself. Because at the end of the day, it isn’t.
Your brightly dyed hair and overly-pierced bodies determine whether these students will be dishonorably discharged as two percenters or if we will rise in the ranks of the Aggie Army, fighting against all other SEC fan bases. So with the 2023 Fish Camp drafts coming up, will you lead your platoon to victory or to the trenches?
Maddie McMurrough is an agricultural communications and journalism sophomore and opinion writer for The Battalion.

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About the Contributor
Maddie McMurrough, Opinion Writer
Maddie McMurrough is an agricultural communications and journalism major from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Maddie has been writing for the Battalion since March 2023.
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