13 Weird Things About This Year’s Incoming College Freshmen

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It’s late August, which means a whole new crop of nervous 18 year-olds are buying “Dorm Room Essentials!” and heading out on awkward orientation excursions. Feel like it was just yesterday that you were a college freshman? Well, the Beloit College Mindset List, released around this time every year, is here to remind you that you’re old, and that kids these days grew up in an entirely different world. For instance:  2012’s incoming freshmen were mostly born in 1994 (YIKES), meaning that they’ve grown up in a world without tan M&Ms and Kurt Cobain. Some more crazy facts from the list below:

+ For these students, Kurt Cobain, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Richard Nixon and John Wayne Gacy have always been dead.

+They have never seen an airplane ‘‘ticket.’’

+ For most of their lives, maintaining relations between the U.S. and the rest of the world has been a woman’s job in the State Department.

+They can’t picture people actually carrying luggage through airports rather than rolling it.

+Having grown up with MP3s and iPods, they never listen to music on the car radio and really have no use for radio at all.

+Since they’ve been born, the United States has measured progress by a 2 percentage point jump in unemployment and a 16-cent rise in the price of a first-class postage stamp.

+White House security has never felt it necessary to wear rubber gloves when gay groups have visited. [Ed:  what?! This was a thing?]

+Having made the acquaintance of Furby at an early age, they have expected their toy friends to do ever more unpredictable things.

+Outdated icons with images of floppy discs for ‘‘save,’’ a telephone for ‘‘phone,’’ and a snail-mail envelope for ‘‘mail’’ have oddly decorated their tablets and smartphone screens.

+Probably the most tribal generation in history, they despise being separated from contact with their similar-aged friends.

+They watch television everywhere but on a television.

+Despite being preferred urban gathering places, two-thirds of the independent bookstores in the United States have closed for good during their lifetimes.



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4 COMMENTS

  1. The bit about paper airplane tickets it totally untrue. I have tickets from a 1999 trip to Costa Rica pasted in a scrapbook somewhere.

    • 1999? That’s 13 years ago! More 3/4 of a lifetime to these kids; even *if* Daddy had used a real, genuine paper airline ticket to take the family to Disney in their pre-school years, they would not recall it.
      The “paperless” age may not have arrived in full yet, but those carbon-copy airline tix are long gone

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