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Beloit College Mindset List 2014

What the Class of 2014 Doesn't Know

Each year Beloit College puts out a list of supposedly startling facts about the kids entering college. Things they don't know or have always taken for granted can provide insight for teachers hoping to put down references that can be picked up, but it probably just makes them feel old.

Yet I'd say the oldest people in the classroom may just be those who created this list. It looks like they just went through Wikipedia's 1992 page — the year most of this Fall's college freshmen were born — and made a list. I found only one surprising (the first one), and some things I didn't even know — and I'm about a decade older!

Here are some moderately illuminating ones. Look below the jump for ridiculousness.

  • Few in the class know how to write in cursive
  • Czechoslovakia has never existed.
  • A quarter of the class has at least one immigrant parent, and the immigration debate is not a big priority.
  • Nirvana is on the classic oldies station.
  • Email is just too slow, and they seldom if ever use snail mail.
  • There have always been women priests in the Anglican Church.
  • Having hundreds of cable channels but nothing to watch has always been routine.
  • Secondhand smoke has always been an official carcinogen.
  • Fergie is a pop singer, not a princess.

Read the ridiculous below.

  • Woody Allen . . . has always been with Soon-Yi Previn. (I wouldn't be surprised if people born in 1992 didn't know who Woody Allen is, so I certainly wouldn't expect them to know the details of his scandalous love life.)
  • They’ve never recognized that pointing to their wrists was a request for the time of day. (I think they could figure this out!)
  • American companies have always done business in Vietnam. (Makes sense, but I didn't know they didn't either.)
  • Someone has always gotten married in space. (They have?)
  • Korean cars have always been a staple on American highways.
  • Walmart has never sold handguns over the counter in the lower 48.
  • Rock bands have always played at presidential inaugural parties.
  • They never twisted the coiled handset wire aimlessly around their wrists while chatting on the phone.

Now show me a kid who's never used anything but a cell phone, and we can talk, Beloit!

Join The Conversation
MissSushi MissSushi 6 years
uh guys, it was written to be a statement to say it's *as if* it didn't exist to the youngsters because tehy don't know anything about the situation. Obviously it existed.
Pistil Pistil 6 years
I went through the list for my graduating year. Some points are accurate.
Sundaydrive Sundaydrive 6 years
And if you go to their webpage you can find list since the class of 2002 (entering college in 1998.)
Sundaydrive Sundaydrive 6 years
Its true about the cursive. I work at a restaurant, and have coworkers who are late teens-early 20s who say they never learned cursive in school. I found it to be strange, and thought maybe it was something with the area (since I only moved here a few years ago). I guess its a nationwide thing though. I remember learning it in 2nd grade, and in 3rd grade we were only allowed to write in cursive. After that it just depended on the teacher, but I had ones all the way through high school that required it.
MissSushi MissSushi 6 years
My jr high and high schools, 7 different ones spread over florida and california, all required cursive writing. I remember telling my 5th grade teacher that it wasn't easier for me to write that way and she told me I was doing it wrong then, lol. I changed my style and how I held the paper, and voila, much easier to quickly write large amounts. I always write in cursive now, and people compliment my writing every time they see it. If it isn't included in my kids schooling, i will most likely teach them myself.
chloe-bella chloe-bella 6 years
The one about them not knowing how to write in cursive shocked me as well. I really disagree with the one about them not understanding that pointing to one's wrist is a request for the time -- people still wear watches! I'm 26 and graduated from high school in 2001, but I spend quite a bit of time with my boyfriend's brother and his girlfriend, both of whom are getting ready to start college. They're young, but it's not like they're totally sheltered to where they don't know about anything that existed prior to the mid-90s. I would have liked to have seen a list like this from when I started college to see how many of them were actually true.
danakscully64 danakscully64 6 years
I remember being in elementary school and the teachers saying "You HAVE to learn cursive, the papers you will write in middle and high school MUST be written in cursive." Got to middle school, nope. High school, nope. I'm 6 years older than the class of 2014 and I remember most of these. I remember when Smells like Teen Spirit was brand new and our phones with cords. ImLizzy - The V President was at an elementary school and corrected a 12 year old boy who wanted to correctly spell 'potato' and Dan Quayle insisted that it be spelled 'potatoe'.
skigurl skigurl 6 years
I don't think this list is suggesting kids use nothing but cell phones, but most home phones these days are also cordless. I haven't talked on a windy-cord phone in years aside from my work phone. So kids who have never worked in an office may not have used one, at least not since they were very little.
sldc sldc 6 years
Kids do write in cursive now, but they don't go to public schools. Most adults don't seem to use it... and if they do, they don't use it well. Office phones have cords, so do the "retro" ones they have sold at Restoration Hardware and Pottery Barn for years. Who uses a house phone anyway? I have a retro one and I don't have it plugged in. Nirvana IS classic rock. Shit, it has been around a while and it is classic. Mostly good rock is actually sampled by hip hop now. Email is for writing letters and replaces snail mail letters (except for very special occasions). Most people and kids don't write a decent email anyway. I have been chatting since the 90s. I had satellite as a kid in the 80s and there was lots of nothing. Nothing has changed there. Is this list just created to marvel at how modern and foreign the youth is? If you are alive and adaptable, this list shouldn't be shocking. It doesn't make me feel old either. I am just apart of this strange new world as they are.
inlove23 inlove23 6 years
Haha. Love the article! I was babysitting today and I tried to write an F in cursive, and let's just say that didn't WORK out!! haha. It's pretty terrible that I forget a lot of the letters, but the 5th grader (entering 5th grade) I babysit can't remember cursive at all! I was like didn't they just teach you like a year ago? lol. I remember when I was in third grade my teacher would constantly say you are going to use this for the rest of your life. Well, they were wrong. lol. I use it for my signature, that's about it. =) But even though I graduated in 2009 I used a cordless phone growing up, I remember when no one (even parents) had cell phones, and yes, I know who Princess Fergie is. The only thing that confused me was the part about Walmart not selling guns, I could have sworn they've sold them in my state for years, but maybe they are just hunting rifles or something. I don't buy guns so I never looked closely. haha.
kea718 kea718 6 years
I learned cursive in elementary school but haven't used it since. I could never quite get the capital "Q"... lol. It was kinda like a 2 but isn't... it's a fancy shmancy 2 that I could never get to look quite right. I actually just goggled the capital letters in cursive to take a look at the "Q" and some places have that capital Q looking like an actual Q.... Maybe they finally caught on that the "Q" looking like a "2" was just plain stupid.
totygoliguez totygoliguez 6 years
I've learned how to write in cursive, but haven't since I graduated elementary school. To be honest, I forgot how to write in cursive. It's an unnecessary skill.
gingirl gingirl 6 years
I went to a Catholic elementary school, and once we learned cursive, we weren't allowed to write in print. Ever. So it's always surprising to me when I meet people who either don't know or don't use cursive. My print is horrible because I've always written in cursive. Now, a bunch of the other stuff I would say is not special to 1992. Like the cable, the phones, Fergie. I was born before 1992, but these also relate to my childhood. I usually hear Nirvana on alt rock stations tho, not classic rock.
imLissy imLissy 6 years
"Potato has always ended in an “e” in New Jersey per vice presidential edict. " what?
imLissy imLissy 6 years
I learned how to write in cursive in elementary school, but haven't had to use it since. I forget what most of the uppercase letters look like. But really, having several teachers that always wrote comments on my papers in cursive and having to spend hours deciphering what the note says, I think cursive can die.
Natalie-Love Natalie-Love 6 years
Truth be told, I don't know how to write in cursive. Well, I kinda have an excuse. I only moved to Canada when I was 12, and have been studying English since I was 9, and I suppose when they were teaching me basic English in Israel, cursive just wasn't a priority at the time. At grade 6 in Canada, kids were already taught how to write cursive, so I was never taught it in Canada either. So ya, I kinda missed that lesson.
jazzytummy jazzytummy 6 years
I know someone whose kid graduated from high school last year, and had no idea how to write in cursive. Her mother made her learn, because she would "have to write thank-you notes for wedding presents someday". Seriously, I was floored. What about signing your name? UGGHHH.
Studio16 Studio16 6 years
I know a ton of kids who are going to college this fall. Most of them know how to write in cursive, just choose not to. That's nothing new - very few of my relatives who went to school in the 50s and 60s use their cursive either.
zeze zeze 6 years
I'm a few years older than the 1992 kids, and by that I mean 6 years and I don't know most of this stuff...cable has always been there, Fergie is only a singer, Nirvana is like a classic rock band (I think) and I can't really remember phones with cords, except maybe those cool looking antique ones. So, while these things are true, definitely not unique to those born in 1992.
onlysourcherry onlysourcherry 6 years
jen that is super cute! And actually not a terrible suggestion for some of us...
stephley stephley 6 years
"•Fergie is a pop singer, not a princess." Who's Princess Fergie? Sarah Ferguson became Duchess of York when she married Prince Andrew. Do they seriously not teach cursive any more??? I had to stay in at recess until mine was perfect! :irk:
Talldiva45 Talldiva45 6 years
The "cursive" fact I am not shocked about. I graduated H.S. in 2002 and many of us laughed on the S.A.T. test whe\n you have to write a sentence in cursive. For some reason they just do not focus on it. It is a very elegant writing style and as and English college major, I wish the curiculum focused on it a lot more.
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