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What Your Frosh Know (and Don't)

August 19, 2008

It can be depressing or humorous to realize that new students never experienced key moments in the history or culture that you experienced. Beloit College has a tradition of promoting better generational communication by releasing an annual "mindset list" to remind academics about what freshmen have experienced -- and what they have never experienced.

The list -- a sure sign that the fall semester is upon us -- was created by Tom McBride, a professor of humanities at Beloit, and Ron Nief, the director of public affairs. This year's freshmen were generally born in 1990, meaning they completely missed all kinds of events formative to their professors. More information about the list, and complete lists from this year and the past may be found here. And for those seeking a different mindset, New Zealand's Massey University offers a version for its part of the world.

Here are some of the highlights from this year's list of freshman perspectives from Beloit:

  • Harry Potter could be a classmate, playing on their Quidditch team.
  • GPS satellite navigation systems have always been available.
  • Coke and Pepsi have always used recycled plastic bottles.
  • Electronic filing of tax returns has always been an option.
  • As a precursor to “whatever,” they have recognized that some people “just don’t get it.”
  • Club Med resorts have always been places to take the whole family.
  • WWW has never stood for World Wide Wrestling.
  • Films have never been X rated, only NC-17.
  • The Warsaw Pact is as hazy for them as the League of Nations was for their parents.
  • Students have always been "Rocking the Vote.”
  • Clarence Thomas has always sat on the Supreme Court.
  • Schools have always been concerned about multiculturalism.
  • We have always known that "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten."
  • There have always been gay rabbis..
  • IBM has never made typewriters.
  • There has always been Pearl Jam.
  • The Tonight Show has always been hosted by Jay Leno and started at 11:35 EST.
  • Pee-Wee has never been in his playhouse during the day.
  • Lenin’s name has never been on a major city in Russia.
  • Employers have always been able to do credit checks on employees.
  • Personal privacy has always been threatened.
  • Caller ID has always been available on phones.
  • They never heard an attendant ask “Want me to check under the hood?”
  • Iced tea has always come in cans and bottles.
  • They have never known life without Seinfeld references from a show about “nothing.”
  • The Hubble Space Telescope has always been eavesdropping on the heavens.
  • 98.6 F or otherwise has always been confirmed in the ear.
  • Radio stations have never been required to present both sides of public issues.
  • There have always been charter schools.

 

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