I found this article a few weeks ago, about the Bel.oit College Mind.set List. It started as a list to help college professors understand what cultural references their students would and would not understand. Now, it's become sort of a interesting glimpse, for anyone who reads it, into the minds of those starting college this year. Read the whole article if you can, it's really fascinating.
I went to the Be.loit College website and found the list here. The main page is this year's list for the Class of 2012, entering college this fall, but you can also use the pull down menu right under the title to find any other year they've created.
I was tickled to find that they actually go all the way back to 2002, for freshman starting in 1998, since I graduated from college in 2001, and started in 1997. This meant that the list would actually be close to my own mindset at the time, since I was starting college just one year earlier. I checked it out and while I agree with some of it, I'm also insulted that they think we were so clueless as kids. Here is the list, with some of my own recollections in italics:
1. The people starting college this fall across the nation were born in 1980, 1979 in my case.
2. They have no meaningful recollection of the Reagan era, and did not know he had ever been shot. I knew Reagan was shot.
3. They were prepubescent when the Persian Gulf War was waged.
4. Black Monday 1987 is as significant to them as the Great Depression. I took history and had grandparents- I know the Great Depression was much more significant.
5. There has only been one Pope. They can only remember one other president.
6. They were 11 when the Soviet Union broke apart, and do not remember the Cold War.
7. They have never feared a nuclear war. "The Day After" is a pill to them—not a movie.
8. They are too young to remember the Space Shuttle Challenger blowing up. I had just turned seven, and sadly, I remember it very vividly.
9. Their lifetime has always included AIDS.
10. They never had a polio shot, and likely, do not know what it is. I think they mean smallpox, since polio is still given today.
11. Bottle caps have not always been screw off, but have always been plastic. They have no idea what a pull top can looks like.
12. Atari pre-dates them, as do vinyl albums. See 14
13. The expression "you sound like a broken record" means nothing to them. See 14
14. They have never owned a record player. I had this record player actually! Fisher Price made similar ones (just more blue toned) until 1989, when I was ten.
15. They have likely never played Pac Man, and have never heard of "Pong." I've played both.
16. Star Wars looks very fake to them, and the special effects are pathetic.
17. There have always been red M&Ms, and blue ones are not new. What do you mean there used to be beige ones? I remember the beige ones, and when red M & Ms were reintroduced and how there were fears over red dye still being poison!
18. They may never have heard of an 8-track, and chances are they've never heard or seen one. A high school friend had an 8-track in his 1980 Vo.lvo, complete with one 8-track of the "All.man Brothers".
19. The compact disc was introduced when they were one year old.
20. As far as they know, stamps have always cost about 32 cents. I remember when they were 25 cents and I remember when gas was 99 cents.
21. They have always had an answering machine. I remember getting one.
22. Most have never seen a TV set with only 13 channels, nor have they seen a black & white TV. I've seen both and when we were first married we didn't have cable, so we only had 9 channels!
23. They have always had cable.
24. There have always been VCRs, but they have no idea what Beta is. We always had VHS, but I knew people who had Beta.
25. They cannot fathom what it was like not having a remote control.
26. They were born the year Walkmen were introduced by Sony.
27. Roller-skating has always meant in-line for them. My grade-school friends and I roller skated on real roller skates all the time!
28. "The Tonight Show" has always been with Jay Leno. I remember Johnny Carson.
29. They have no idea when or why Jordache jeans were cool.
30. Popcorn has always been cooked in the microwave.
31. They have never seen Larry Bird play, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is a football player. What?... Larry Bird retired when I was 13.
32. They never took a swim and thought about Jaws.
33. The Vietnam War is as ancient history to them as WWI and WWII or even the Civil War.
34. They have no idea that Americans were ever held hostage in Iran. I don't know much about it, but I know it happened.
35. They can't imagine what hard contact lenses are. My Mom had them until she had laser eye surgery a few years ago.
36. They don't know who Mork was, or where he was from.
37. They never heard the terms "Where's the Beef?", "I'd walk a mile for a Camel" or "De plane, de plane!"
38. They do not care who shot J.R. and have no idea who J.R. is.
39. The Titanic was found? I thought we always knew where it was.
40. Michael Jackson has always been white. The scariest thing about Michael Jackson to me will always be "Thriller".
41. Kansas, Boston, Chicago, America, and Alabama are all places—not music groups. Good music, especially Chicago and Boston, is always in style.
42. McDonald's never came in Styrofoam containers. Big Macs were in Styrofoam until just a few years ago, weren't they?
43. There has always been MTV, and it has always included non-musical shows. I remember when they actually showed music videos!
Go check it out and see if you have any observations of your own. Make sure to check the list for the year you were supposed to graduate from college. Have fun!