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How to Talk with an Incoming HSU or CR Student

Every year since 1998, Beloit College has put out its “mindset list,” to help people understand what incoming college freshpeople know and don’t know… here’s the one for the class of 2016:

For this generation of entering college students, born in 1994, Kurt Cobain, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Richard Nixon and John Wayne Gacy have always been dead.

  1. They should keep their eyes open for Justin Bieber or Dakota Fanning at freshman orientation.
  2. They have always lived in cyberspace, addicted to a new generation of “electronic narcotics.”
  3. The Biblical sources of terms such as “Forbidden Fruit,” “The writing on the wall,” “Good Samaritan,” and “The Promised Land” are unknown to most of them.
  4. Michael Jackson’s family, not the Kennedys, constitutes “American Royalty.”
  5. If they miss The Daily Show, they can always get their news on YouTube.
  6. Their lives have been measured in the fundamental particles of life: bits, bytes, and bauds.
  7. Robert De Niro is thought of as Greg Focker’s long-suffering father-in-law, not as Vito Corleone or Jimmy Conway.
  8. Bill Clinton is a senior statesman of whose presidency they have little knowledge.
  9. They have never seen an airplane “ticket.”
  10. On TV and in films, the ditzy dumb blonde female generally has been replaced by a couple of Dumb and Dumber males. 
  11. The paradox “too big to fail” has been, for their generation, what “we had to destroy the village in order to save it” was for their grandparents’.
  12. 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.
  13. They can’t picture people actually carrying luggage through airports rather than rolling it.
  14. There has always been football in Jacksonville but never in Los Angeles.
  15. 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. [Huh? –Herald]
  16. Since they’ve been born, the United States has measured progress by a 2 percent jump in unemployment and a 16 cent rise in the price of a first class postage stamp.
  17. Benjamin Braddock, having given up both a career in plastics and a relationship with Mrs. Robinson, could be their grandfather.
  18. Their folks have never gazed with pride on a new set of bound encyclopedias on the bookshelf.
  19. The Green Bay Packers have always celebrated with the Lambeau Leap.
  20. Exposed bra straps have always been a fashion statement, not a wardrobe malfunction to be corrected quietly by well-meaning friends.
  21. A significant percentage of them will enter college already displaying some hearing loss.
  22. The Real World has always stopped being polite and started getting real on MTV.
  23. Women have always piloted war planes and space shuttles.
  24. White House security has never felt it necessary to wear rubber gloves when gay groups have visited.
  25. They have lived in an era of instant stardom and self-proclaimed celebrities, famous for being famous.
  26. Having made the acquaintance of Furby at an early age, they have expected their toy friends to do ever more unpredictable things.
  27. 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 smart phone screens.
  28. Star Wars has always been just a film, not a defense strategy.
  29. They have had to incessantly remind their parents not to refer to their CDs and DVDs as “tapes.”
  30. There have always been blue M&Ms, but no tan ones.’
  31. Along with online viewbooks, parents have always been able to check the crime stats for the colleges their kids have selected.
  32. Newt Gingrich has always been a key figure in politics, trying to change the way America thinks about everything.
  33. They have come to political consciousness during a time of increasing doubts about America’s future.
  34. Billy Graham is as familiar to them as Otto Graham was to their parents.
  35. Probably the most tribal generation in history, they despise being separated from contact with their similar-aged friends.
  36. Stephen Breyer has always been an Associate Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.
  37. Martin Lawrence has always been banned from hosting Saturday Night Live.
  38. Slavery has always been unconstitutional in Mississippi, and Southern Baptists have always been apologizing for supporting it in the first place.
  39. The Metropolitan Opera House in New York has always translated operas on seatback screens.
  40. A bit of the late Gene Roddenberry, creator of Star Trek, has always existed in space.
  41. Good music programmers are rock stars to the women of this generation, just as guitar players were for their mothers.
  42. Gene therapy has always been an available treatment.
  43. They were too young to enjoy the 1994 World Series, but then no one else got to enjoy it either.
  44. The folks have always been able to grab an Aleve when the kids started giving them a migraine.
  45. While the iconic TV series for their older siblings was the sci-fi show Lost, for them it’sBreaking Bad, a gritty crime story motivated by desperate economic circumstances.
  46. Simba has always had trouble waiting to be King.
  47. Before they purchase an assigned textbook, they will investigate whether it is available for rent or purchase as an e-book.
  48. They grew up, somehow, without the benefits of Romper Room.
  49. There has always been a World Trade Organization.
  50. L.L. Bean hunting shoes have always been known as just plain Bean Boots.
  51. They have always been able to see Starz on Direct TV.
  52. Ice skating competitions have always been jumping matches.
  53. There has always been a Santa Clause.
  54. NBC has never shown A Wonderful Life more than twice during the holidays.
  55. Mr. Burns has replaced J.R.Ewing as the most shot-at man on American television.
  56. They have always enjoyed school and summer camp memories with a digital yearbook.
  57. Herr Schindler has always had a List; Mr. Spielberg has always had an Oscar.
  58. Selena’s fans have always been in mourning.
  59. They know many established film stars by their voices on computer-animated blockbusters.
  60. History has always had its own channel.
  61. Thousands have always been gathering for “million-man” demonstrations in Washington, D.C.
  62. Television and film dramas have always risked being pulled because the story line was too close to the headlines from which they were ”ripped.”
  63. TheTwilight Zone involves vampires, not Rod Serling.
  64. Robert Osborne has always been introducing Hollywood history on TCM.
  65. Little Caesar has always been proclaiming “Pizza Pizza.”
  66. They have no recollection of when Arianna Huffington was a conservative.
  67. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome has always been officially recognized with clinical guidelines.
  68. They watch television everywhere but on a television.
  69. Pulp Fiction’s meal of a “Royale with Cheese” and an “Amos and Andy milkshake” has little or no resonance with them.
  70. Point-and-shoot cameras are soooooo last millennium.
  71. Despite being preferred urban gathering places, two-thirds of the independent bookstores in the United States have closed for good during their lifetimes.
  72. Astronauts have always spent well over a year in a single space flight.
  73. Lou Gehrig’s record for most consecutive baseball games played has never stood in their lifetimes.
  74. Genomes of living things have always been sequenced.
  75. The Sistine Chapel ceiling has always been brighter and cleaner.
  1. grackle
    August 25, 2012 at 10:46 am

    A somewhat flacid list. In earlier years it has had much more punch. I’m in my late sixties and had to look up who Otto Graham might be.

  2. Anonymous
    August 25, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    My god you’re a fucking idiot Mitch. Copy and paste much?

  3. Goldie
    August 25, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    Anonymous is a cranky pants today.

  4. Bob
    August 25, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    The #1 do not give into the “homeless” crap, they are addicts and bum thiefs. Don’t get fooled by incessant whining.

  5. Mitch
    August 25, 2012 at 3:09 pm


    Anonymous 2:43 has my sympathy.

    He’d probably been pondering the meaningless of existence, turned to the Herald for some uplift, and was confronted with the same stupid list he’d seen moments before on sfgate. “Why,” he asked, “is my life such a shithole?” And then it struck him — close as the screen in front of his face. “It’s that fucking idiot Mitch, cutting and pasting.” In a flash, he went from an all-too-familiar feeling of numb misery to one of adrenaline-pumping outrage. And, unlike so many who remain passive in the face of the modern universe’s uncaring godlessness, he took fingers to keyboard to directly confront the source of his problems.

    Courage, Anonymous 2:43. Courage. You are having an impact. You do matter.

  6. Anonymous
    August 25, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    And the people who have actually walked on the moon have always been old white men. The one who walked there first died today.

  7. What Now
    August 25, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    Anonymous @ 2:43 is just suffering from the residual affects of guzzling everclaer and orange juice.
    Ap[parently HIghly Fried is useing THAT monikr overtime.

  8. High Finance
    August 25, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    “Ap[parently” What Now has a crush on me.

  9. What Now
    August 25, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    In your dreams, Highly Fried.

  10. Anonymous
    August 25, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    “Courage, Anonymous 2:43. Courage. You are having an impact. You do matter”

    Let’s change this a bit, shall we?

    Courage Mitch. Courage. This blog USED TO have an impact. It used to matter. Have the courage to turn it over to someone unafraid to make waves, like this blog used to. Get over yourself, and turn the keys over to Not A Native.

  11. Mitch
    August 25, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    A few fairly pointless replies to Anonymous 7:43.

    First, the blog belongs to Heraldo, who invited Eric and me to post if we wanted. Second, I post what I’m moved to post — I am not particularly interested in “making waves.” Third, if you have some news that you think should get out, feel free to put it up at Quick Notes. If Heraldo, Eric, or I think it makes sense to put a Quick Notes comment up as a “front page post,” one of us will probably do so when we notice it and get a moment. Fourth, weird. People are just plain weird.

  12. jr
    August 25, 2012 at 10:15 pm

    Mitch–In the words of Dr. Hunter Thompson, “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” Keep on posting.

  13. Not HuMan
    August 26, 2012 at 7:48 am

    Mitch Eric not surfing on waves, kiss my ass goodbye. Linda hats America and freedom to Home Depot. Vote for the other guy, Rob’s guy, we’ll have freedom and lots of jobs at Rob’s Arena Center.

  14. High Finance
    August 26, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    There is nothing wrong with having a fun topic once in a blue moon.

    I still can’t believe my kids don’t know who the beatles were.

  15. Trevni Surot
    August 29, 2012 at 9:04 am

    The generation at issue might idly wonder at the retro, or faux retro, political landscape being constructed by teapartyers et al. I’m referring here to rightwing evocations of a mythical “good old days” — “Take America back” and so forth. To these ’94s, such allusions to a “real America” must evoke something they have experienced — Mad Men, perhaps? — that never existed. Much like the righties themselves are thinking of John Wayne, or Father Knows Best, or Reagan’s coherent moments.

  16. August 31, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    I am 90–\ but i sttill say :think for yourself and stand up for what\ou believeApathy– bad

  17. August 31, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    Jean, good to hear it — you’ll know very weil that this is what got individuals through many times of the past, which were never simple.

    A nice evening to you, with respect.

  18. September 5, 2012 at 10:25 am

    is our university n loco parenitis an the outlaw students with no recourse and conductt
    rhandom tests

  19. September 5, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    what right does a student havehe has invested and has hopes

  20. September 6, 2012 at 11:48 am


    –does not believe in freespeech

  21. September 9, 2012 at 10:31 am

    No comment-were not most of you once a student–consider the money -tell what rights HSU students to face their accusers, President is accusor,jury andpenalizer
    would it have been different if it had been lucrative football instead of nonincome male and female soccer and not just athleic teams for rhandom testing,,I still have HSU student
    body card and to me this is a travesty

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