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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.