More Annoyed than Amused

Beloit List

Posted by parsingtime on August 19, 2008

There is this thing called the Beloit College Mindset List and every year they provide a list of the mindset of the incoming freshman college class. I can’t speak to other years but I take exception to mine. I think because the two guys who create it are old they really have no idea what people our age remember and don’t remember. They state that they are generalizations and don’t represent everyone’s experience but I think I could talk to almost anyone I know who started college around that time and they would know about 2/3 of this list.

I entered college in 1998 so this is the list for my year.

  1. The people starting college this fall across the nation were born in 1980. Yes.
  2. They have no meaningful recollection of the Reagan era, and did not know he had ever been shot. In fact I did know this. And I didn’t come to the US until the 1990s. They do teach this in history.
  3. They were prepubescent when the Persian Gulf War was waged.  Yes, I was. Good job on the math
  4. Black Monday 1987 is as significant to them as the Great Depression. Okay, I didn’t know much about Black Monday but I knew plenty about the Great Depression.
  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. I don’t recall the Day After Pill becoming particularly significant until college. I don’t think this is true at all. And I still fear nuclear war, so there.
  8. They are too young to remember the Space Shuttle Challenger blowing up. No I remember.
  9. Their lifetime has always included AIDS.
  10. They never had a polio shot, and likely, do not know what it is. Yes I do.
  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. I remember being so weirded out when pull tops went to the new kind of push in tops on cans. This list is starting to annoy me.
  12. Atari pre-dates them, as do vinyl albums. I do in fact remember Atari and wrote about it. Also my dad had plenty of vinyls that he played.
  13. The expression “you sound like a broken record” means nothing to them. We are not stupid.
  14. They have never owned a record player.
  15. They have likely never played Pac Man, and have never heard of “Pong.”  Who hasn’t played Pac-Man? Kids still play Pac-man. Again this list is dumb.
  16. Star Wars looks very fake to them, and the special effects are pathetic. Star Wars was my first “grown up” movie. I’ve never thought the special effects are pathetic. Do you think Gone with the Wind is a pathetic movie because the fire scenes look fake? No, it was made in the 1930s what do you expect.
  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. Blue ones ARE new to me.
  18. They may never have heard of an 8-track, and chances are they’ve never heard or seen one.
  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.
  21. They have always had an answering machine. Not true.
  22. Most have never seen a TV set with only 13 channels, nor have they seen a black & white TV. For the first 9 years of my life we only had 6 Channels.
  23. They have always had cable. Not true.
  24. There have always been VCRs, but they have no idea what Beta is. We still have a betamax.
  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. I never skated in-line until my teens. I have photographic proof.
  28. “The Tonight Show” has always been with Jay Leno.
  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. Are we stupid? We must be stupid.
  32. They never took a swim and thought about Jaws. Not True.
  33. The Vietnam War is as ancient history to them as WWI and WWII or even the Civil War. Not True.
  34. They have no idea that Americans were ever held hostage in Iran. Not True.
  35. They can’t imagine what hard contact lenses are. I’ve never had contacts but given that they advertise soft contacts I am aware that there must have been hard ones.
  36. They don’t know who Mork was, or where he was from. Hello, Nick at Nite.
  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. I actually remember this getting coverage in England. But I wasn’t old enough to watch.
  39. The Titanic was found? I thought we always knew where it was. Seriously, they think we are stupid.
  40. Michael Jackson has always been white. This list is aggravating.
  41. Kansas, Boston, Chicago, America, and Alabama are all places—not music groups. Sigh.
  42. McDonald’s never came in Styrofoam containers.  Double sigh.
  43. There has always been MTV, and it has always included non-musical shows. We didn’t have cable so I didn’t have MTV!

This list bugs the crap out of me for no good reason.


One Response to “Beloit List”

  1. Emilia said

    I guess they didn’t factor in those of us born in 1980 that actually read books growing up and spoke to our parents on a regular basis. Until high school, our t.v. had knobs – with cable there was a box with a remote, but we didn’t add that on until I was 8. The t.v. (knobs and all) lasted until 1995. My hatred of Star Wars had nothing to do with the special effects, but rather my childhood dislike of monsters and shooting. Rollerskating birthday parties were all the rage in the 80’s (4 wheels for each foot…). I wore hard contact lenses for 1 month. My family never had an answering machine – we skipped right from no way to leave a message to voice mail. I remember when they took away beige M&M’s and thought it was a good idea because it was too close to brown. My mother loved making popcorn from real kernels on the stove and in a popcorn popper… shall I go on? Stupid list.

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