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POV: You're fully invested in #BamaRush on TikTok and haven't slept in two nights

The University of Alabama's recruitment process has taken over TikTok. Here's a breakdown of the process behind the hashtag.
Credit: AP
The University of Alabama Phi Mu's newest sorority members make hand symbols during sorority Bid Day on Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The university became embroiled in controversy in 2013 after the student newspaper reported some white sororities had rejected blacks as new members because of race. At the end of 2014 sorority recruitment, black women made up 1 percent of new members. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Last week, how could any of us have known the way our hearts would warm to Kendra Scott accessories? Could we imagine a world where we considered, seriously, purchasing the same Princess Polly dress legacy Emily Ann wore during Sisterhood Round?

If you understand what I'm saying; this article isn't for you - get back to scrolling. 

If not, welcome to Bama Rush Tok - a collection of hashtags giving insight into the experiences of college students during Rush Week at the University of Alabama.

@blakeannajoy

sisterhood day 1 update and fit check😆 #SyncYourMiO #rushweek #pc21 #sorority #outfitcheck #rush #auburn #wareagle #bama #bamarush #bamarushtok

♬ original sound - Blake Wright
@sarahmchambliss

The best dorm bc we’re right by sorority row!!! So old my mom literally lived here #Tutwiler #Bama #Bamarush #rush #Bamatok #Rushtok #sorority

♬ original sound - SARAH CHAMBLISS
@hannahmorris2

This is the most fun I have had and such a great experience #universityofalabama #bamarushtok #rush #fyp #SyncYourMiO

♬ Cognac Queen - armins ✨crispy✨ body
@alexabluu

This is my cry for help get this on Bama tok my dress is broken #bamarush #rush #bama

♬ original sound - lexa💀

Bama Rush Tok has captivated millions on social media, with the hashtag #BamaRush amassing 95.5 million views the past few days. Other hashtags within the Bama Rush Tok family, #alabamarush and #BamaRushTok, among a few, rack up similar numbers. 

Here's a brief breakdown of the process behind the hashtag, and how the world got involved in particulars of one university's weeklong rush. 

The Process

Rush Week is the process of sorority recruitment at the University of Alabama, an institution which sees more than 2,200 women who hope to join the university's sorority system through the rush process. 

Incoming sorority hopefuls, also known as PNMs - or Potential New Members - attend a series of parties over the course of Rush Week. 

They are Open House Round, Philanthropy Round, Sisterhood Round, and Preference Night Round, where they mingle with current members living at that particular house. 

@cruizship

BUTTTTT ANYWAYS RUSH BAMA DG #bamarush #bamarushtok #sorority #alabama #bama #rolltide #fyp #deltagamma #bamadg @bamadeltagamma

♬ Know Yourself - Drake

However, since the course of sisterhood does not always run smooth, you have to be invited back to the parties. 

So during the course of each round, the PNMs aim to connect with current members, receive an invitation back to the next one, then the next one and so on. 

At the end of Rush Week, the PNMs hope to get matched with the perfect sorority to spend the next four years of their college experience. 

What You'll Find on #BamaRush

It's...a lot. 

While not wholly the same, the popularity of and interest surrounding #BamaRush is reminiscent of videos created by athletes living within the Olympic Village just a few weeks ago. 

For many social media users, #BamaRushTok is the first time they are being offered insight into the sometimes clandestine world of university Greek systems. 

It is content they can experience through the personalized perspectives of PNMs, who are also encountering these niche complexities for the first time. Users can then idolize it, mock it, envy it, or scorn it, but regardless, they too can then create their own content out of it. 

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Some of the most popular videos on Bama Tok are "OOTD" - that's Outfit of the Day in TikTok parlance - of PNMs showing off the outfit they worse to a particular party.  

Many of these, like the one featured by PNM and TikTok user @whatwouldjimmybuffetdo, wrack up nearly a million views or at least hundreds of thousands of likes. 

@whatwouldjimmybuffettdo

♬ original sound - makayla :))
@prettypinkash

Alabama rush sisterhood round day 1 💘💘 #bamarush #rushtok #sisterhood

♬ original sound - Ash

The videos have become so popular that a few companies, like jewelry line Kendra Scott, whose creations are often featured in the OOTD videos, have even jumped into the fray creating #BamaRush content. 

@kendrascott

“Necklace is Kendra Scott” #KendraScott #jewelry #rush #bamarush #alabama #recruitment

♬ original sound - Kendra Scott

Upperclassmen already affiliated with the sororities also create content, showing off various aspects of living in the house or highlighting what life is like inside. 

@alexabluu

This is my cry for help get this on Bama tok my dress is broken #bamarush #rush #bama

♬ original sound - lexa💀
@cierarae_

Bama #ootd #recruitment #bamarush #deltagamma #sorority #dg #fyp

♬ original sound - Ciera Rae

Perhaps more common on #BamaRushTok though, is content produced by masses of people whose brief foray into the sorority recruitment world started because whatever machinations of TikTok's algorithm forced it onto their FYP - or "For You Page."

Many find themselves questioning how this content even wound up on their page, but admit they cannot step away. It's a place where hot takes abound. 

@maskitmati

my entire fyp is bama rush #bamarush #bamarushtok #sorority

♬ Butterflies - Kacey Musgraves
@i_delz

Roll tide 🤪✌🏼 #bama #bamarush #rolltide #sorority #ootd

♬ original sound - Izzie DeLuca
@carriejernigan1

and how do I get one of those blue t-shirts? #bama #rushweek #bamarush #sorority

♬ original sound - LAWYER CARRIE
@badbleep.ell

If you’re not on Bama rush tok where tf you at? #bamarush #foryou

♬ original sound - makayla :))

While #BamaRushTok content often strays to silly, it's not all fun and games. 

Many users have brought to light serious instances of racism and a legacy of it within Greek life, and have turned to the hashtag as an opportunity to reiterate those injustices. 

Some have pointed out the brutal nature of recruitment itself for young college students who do not get matched to a sorority, and get to taste their first tinge of mass social rejection from their peers before class even starts.

The process isn't over yet. 

According to the University of Alabama website, Bid Day is just around the corner, with bids distributed at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday.

But while #BamaTok may be specific to the University of Alabama, #RushTok as a whole is not unique just to that university. In fact #BamaRush is just a subset of the larger #RushTok world. 

That means the trials and tribulations of #RushTok content makers from universities across the country could continue to flood our TikTok feeds in the coming months - whether we want it to or not.