• August 28, 2015

The Beloit College Mind-Set List

They were just babies, the members of the Class of 2014, when Bill Clinton made his first run for the presidency and Nirvana made grunge a household word. Soon they will be sitting in college classrooms, madly texting one another to see whether anyone grasps the professor's obscure cultural references.

To avoid such a scenario, Tom McBride and Ron Nief have compiled their latest Beloit College Mind-Set List, a reminder that your 18-year-old students and you probably view the world from very different perspectives. (The full list is available at www.beloit.edu/mindset/.)

The Beloit College Mind-Set List for the Class of 2014

Most students entering college for the first time this fall were born in 1992.

For these students, Benny Hill, Sam Kinison, Sam Walton, Bert Parks, and Anthony Perkins have always been dead.

1. Few in the class know how to write in cursive.

2. E-mail is just too slow, and they seldom if ever use snail mail.

3. "Go West, Young College Grad" has always implied "and don't stop until you get to Asia ... and learn Chinese along the way."

4. Los Angelenos have always been trying to get along.

5. Buffy has always been meeting her obligations to hunt down Lothos and the other bloodsuckers at Hemery High.

6. "Caramel macchiato" and "venti half-CAF vanilla latte" have always been street-corner lingo.

7. With increasing numbers of ramps, Braille signs, and handicapped parking spaces, the world has always been trying harder to accommodate people with disabilities.

8. Had it remained operational, the villainous computer HAL could be their college classmate this fall, but they have a better chance of running into Miley Cyrus's folks on Parents' Weekend.

9. John McEnroe has never played professional tennis.

10. Clint Eastwood is better known as a sensitive director than as Dirty Harry.

11. Parents and teachers feared that Beavis and Butt-Head might be the voice of a lost generation.

12. Dr. Jack Kevorkian has never been licensed to practice medicine.

13. Colorful lapel ribbons have always been worn to indicate support for a cause.

14. Korean cars have always been a staple on American highways.

15. Trading Chocolate the Moose for Patti the Platypus helped build their Beanie Baby collection.

16. Fergie is a pop singer, not a princess.

17. They never twisted the coiled handset wire aimlessly around their wrists while chatting on the phone.

18. DNA fingerprinting and maps of the human genome have always existed.

19. Woody Allen, whose heart has wanted what it wanted, has always been with Soon-Yi Previn.

20. Cross-burning has always been deemed protected speech.

21. Leasing has always allowed the folks to upgrade their tastes in cars.

22. "Cop Killer" by the rapper Ice-T has never been available on a recording.

23. Leno and Letterman have always been trading insults on opposing networks.

24. Unless they found one in their grandparents' closet, they have never seen a carousel of Kodachrome slides.

25. Computers have never lacked a CD-ROM disk drive.

26. They've never recognized that pointing to their wrists was a request for the time of day.

27. Reggie Jackson has always been enshrined in Cooperstown.

28. "Viewer Discretion" has always been an available warning on TV shows.

29. The first computer they probably touched was an Apple II; it is now in a museum.

30. Czechoslovakia has never existed.

31. Secondhand smoke has always been an official carcinogen.

32. "Assisted living" has always been replacing nursing homes, while hospice has always been an alternative to hospitals.

33. Once they got through security, going to the airport has always resembled going to the mall.

34. Whatever their parents may have thought about the year they were born, Queen Elizabeth declared it an "Annus horribilis."

35. Bud Selig has always been the commissioner of Major League Baseball.

36. Pizza jockeys from Domino's have never killed themselves to get your pizza there in under 30 minutes.

37. There have always been HIV-positive athletes in the Olympics.

38. American companies have always done business in Vietnam.

39. Potato has always ended in an "e" in New Jersey, per vice-presidential edict.

40. Russians and Americans have always been living together in space.

41. The dominance of television news by the three networks passed while they were still in their cribs.

42. They have always had a chance to do community service with local and federal programs to earn money for college.

43. Nirvana is on the classic oldies station.

44. Children have always been trying to divorce their parents.

45. While they were babbling in strollers, there was already a female poet laureate of the United States.

46. Toothpaste tubes have always stood up on their caps.

47. Food has always been irradiated.

48. There have always been woman priests in the Anglican Church.

49. J.R. Ewing has always been dead and gone. Hasn't he?

50. The historic bridge at Mostar, in Bosnia, has always been a copy.

51. Rock bands have always played at presidential inaugural parties.

52. They may have assumed that parents' complaints about Black Monday had to do with punk rockers from L.A., not Wall Street.

53. A purple dinosaur has always supplanted Barney Google and Barney Fife.

54. Beethoven has always been a dog.

55. By the time their folks might have noticed Coca-Cola's new Tab Clear, it was gone.

56. Presidential appointees have always been required to be more precise about paying their nannies' withholding tax, or else.

57. Having hundreds of cable channels but nothing to watch has always been routine.

58. Their parents' favorite TV sitcoms have always been showing up as movies.

59. The United States, Canada, and Mexico have always agreed to trade freely.

60. They first met Michelangelo when he was just a computer virus.

61. Galileo is forgiven and welcomed back into the Roman Catholic Church.

62. They have never worried about a Russian missile strike on the United States.

63. The post office has always been going broke.

64. The nation has never approved of the job Congress is doing.

65. One way or another, "It's the economy, stupid," and always has been.

66. Silicone-gel breast implants have always been regulated.

67. They've always been able to blast off with the sci-fi channel.

68. Honda has always been a major competitor on Memorial Day at Indianapolis.

(Copyright 2010 Beloit College; used with permission.)


1. jacobi1804 - August 17, 2010 at 07:30 am

#25 is already out of date. The MacBook Air doesn't have a CD-ROM drive.

2. fergbutt - August 17, 2010 at 07:49 am

#39 is only fair if a future list for students born in 2008 says "there are 57 states in the Union, per the edict of the campaigning (Democratic) candidate for President"

3. rkburns - August 17, 2010 at 08:26 am

#5 is wrong. Everyone knows she went to Sunnydale High. If you doubt, check out Wikipedia! ; < )

4. laker - August 17, 2010 at 09:03 am

@ fergbutt- old news and snopes already has covered it. Given the Far Right's gaffe prone Pres (W) and wannabe (Caribou Barbie) I am surprised you don't trot out Marine Corpse as well...

5. zoosnake - August 17, 2010 at 09:47 am

Technically, Buffy started high school at Hemery, was expelled, and enrolled at Sunnydale before her sophomore year. The movie serves as the back-story for the television series, but most people, especially the students, will be more familiar with the series than the movie. Does anyone remember Lothos?

6. stephilly - August 17, 2010 at 10:38 am

The only relevant list item was about thinking email was too slow.

6. "Caramel macchiato" and "venti half-CAF vanilla latte" have always been street-corner lingo.
Maybe for rich kids?
15. Trading Chocolate the Moose for Patti the Platypus helped build their Beanie Baby collection.
Only if they're losers.
29. The first computer they probably touched was an Apple II; it is now in a museum
That's the first computer we've all touched pretty much. And for all of us it's completely obsolete. NEXT

7. mtso_admissions_fa - August 17, 2010 at 10:55 am

Re: #22 -- “The rapper Ice-T?” Do they mean the Law and Order guy?

8. komako - August 17, 2010 at 12:41 pm

A good deal of this list is seriously ahistorical, and a lot of it is totally unfair to today's 18 year olds as well.

One you forgot, though, that I saw in the classroom last year: one particular 17 year old student thought that Communism was no longer practiced anywhere on earth. She wondered why anyone ever worried about Communism and she did not have any real, visceral understanding of the Cold War.

I'd also like to say that I graduated high school in 1992. The first computer I ever had was a Commodore 64. The next computer was an Apple IIE. The Apple was the first computer any of my friends ever had access to. I've never known a student born in the 1990s who has even seen an Apple II of any kind. Just one way in which this list is ahistorical. Also, the community service is now required to graduate high school, at least in California. It's not "a chance."

9. xtrcrnchy4 - August 17, 2010 at 01:46 pm

Quibble, quibble, quibble. Have fun with it!

10. trendisnotdestiny - August 17, 2010 at 02:10 pm


* payday lenders are more prevalent than bank branches

* SNL (S&L) Crisis: had to with Will Ferrell leaving Sat Night Live

* Voodoo Economics & Ben Stein have more in common: Anyone, Beuller

* Pulling a Boesky is a con artist technique vs. the Con

11. dleopard59 - August 18, 2010 at 12:59 pm

You know, this is inane. Cop Killer is easily available on the web and that means its a recording. Of course, the kids know that. I hope you do too.

12. ksledge - August 18, 2010 at 05:23 pm

"The first computer they probably touched was an Apple II"
"Computers have never lacked a CD-ROM disk drive."

These are inconsistent. Not to mention as someone else said the MacBook Air doesn't have a drive. Personally, I doubt most of the 2014 kids ever touched an Apple II.

I read this list each year in the Chronicle, and every year I think that the authors have missed the mark. They mention issues that ring true with much older people. They could make the list so much more surprising if they wanted. As someone else posted, "E-mail is too slow" is kind of the only "wow" one on here that applies to this age more so than people who are 5-10 years older. But I'd have to say a lot of these apply to people who are 5-10 years older, so it's not even that interesting. That's because the "X was always true" format also works for people who were 5 at the time something changed--most of us don't remember much about current events from that early in life.

13. drnels - August 18, 2010 at 07:02 pm

I can't believe this list left out that this generation was born in the year "The Real World"premiered. In other words, this generation has always been alive with 1) reality television and 2) with a show featuring college students as participants.

14. duppy_conqueror - August 18, 2010 at 07:15 pm

while many are cute or poignant, others irrelevant,outdated or wrong, I object to the premise that our awareness of something is defined by the year of our birth. I'm a late "baby-boomer", but by the time I was starting college, I was very aware of pre-WW2 historic and cultural events. I had a rudimentary understanding of what led to my then-favorite musical and filmic forms, knew that TV was a relatively recent phenomenon, life was hard during the Great Depression, etc etc thanks to the many stories I heard and read growing up. I didn't feel special knowing these things, and some of my contemporaries had comprehensive jazz and blues collections, libraries, or even collections of 16mm silent movie clasics. This is a superficial view of "mindset", imho. But I did enjoy reading it, thanks!

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