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According to the Class of 2014…

By Brian | August 17, 2010 | Share on Facebook

It’s that time of year again – the new Beloit College Mindset List is out.

As in past years (2007, 2009), I direct you to the link above for the whole list, but will highlight my favorite items here:

Most students entering college for the first time this fall—the Class of 2014—were born in 1992. For these students…

1. Few in the class know how to write in cursive.
19. They never twisted the coiled handset wire aimlessly around their wrists while chatting on the phone.
25. Leno and Letterman have always been trading insults on opposing networks.
28. They’ve never recognized that pointing to their wrists was a request for the time of day.
32. Czechoslovakia has never existed.
36. Adhesive strips have always been available in varying skin tones.
46. Nirvana is on the classic oldies station.
50. Toothpaste tubes have always stood up on their caps.
58. Beethoven has always been a dog.
65. Michelangelo [has always been] a computer virus.
71. The nation has never approved of the job Congress is doing.

Last year’s list didn’t have as much of the intended shock value for me, but some of these are truly eye-opening.

For instance, kids aren’t taught to write in cursive anymore? Now that I think about it, I was taught in second grade. My older son is entering fifth grade, and while I think he was taught, I haven’t seen him do it in ages (he either prints or types now). My younger son is entering second grade and, to my knowledge, has not been taught yet. I understand that it’s a dying skill, but how strange that one day, fairly soon, there won’t be any people in the country that can write in script…

Similarly, my kids had “toy” wristwatches for a while (“toy” in quotes because while they were adorned with cartoon characters and such, they actually did work as watches). Today, though, they both have iPod Touch devices, and would likely turn to them to get the time than to an archaic device that is strapped to their wrist and only doesn’t do anything but tell the time.

As for adhesive strips, I’ll only add that when I worked a part-time summer job at Johnson & Johnson many years ago, I saw hundreds of letters that people wrote in suggesting that J&J make band-aids in different skin colors. At the time, J&J’s response was to make clear band-aids, which still strikes me as a better idea than what Beloit is saying exists today.

Finally, if it really is true that Congress has an eighteen year streak with approval ratings below 50%, then I think it says as much about the usefulness of this particular opinion poll question as it does about Congress.

That’s my list of favorites. Check out the whole list and share your favorites in the comments below…

Topics: Random Acts of Blogging | 9 Comments »

9 Responses to “According to the Class of 2014…”

  1. Tom Gordon says at August 17th, 2010 at 12:47 pm :
    I’m waiting for the 2015 list for the class of 2019, which, depending upon political events over the next five years, may include “They have never seen a white male as U.S. Secretary of State.”

  2. jason says at August 17th, 2010 at 7:46 pm :
    These lists depress the crap out of me, and they just get worse year by year. Kids don’t write in cursive anymore? Really? Oy.

    I do question the veracity of some of these items, though. The thing about wristwatches, for instance. Yes, I know teens do damn near everything via their cellphones these days, but I also see a lot of teens wearing wristwatches. I personally bought one for my GF’s niece not two years ago, which she picked out — it wasn’t a gift from some out-of-touch not-quite-uncle — while the three of us were all shopping together. Granted, watches may be more of a fashion item for kids these days than a utility, but I find it really hard to believe that 18-year-olds don’t “recognize that pointing to their wrists [is] a request for the time of day.”

    And what is that item about toothpaste tubes referring to? Seems to me the tubes in my medicine cabinet at home are more or less the same as they’ve always been, and I don’t think I’m buying the special “old-school” toothpaste.

    As for my favorite item on the list, that’s got to be 68. They have never worried about a Russian missile strike on the U.S.

    I know we still have various existential fears today, but it gladdens my heart that today’s kids have never had to think about what they would do with their final 20 minutes if they learned the birds were in the air. I know I spent a lot of time pondering that one at 18…

  3. Brian says at August 18th, 2010 at 12:14 am :
    Sorry, Jason – I could have guessed that this would get to you, and I certainly didn’t mean to cause you sadness. Maybe someone should make a list of all the things the Class of 2014 will always believe that no one believed before? Stuff like: there’s always been a plan in place to go to Mars, or the Mustang has always been more than a horse? See what I did there? Heck, at least I’m trying… ;-)

    As for the items you mention: I obviously don’t know for sure, but I’m pretty sure the comment about wristwatches wasn’t so much about jewelry as it was about functionality. Wristwatches or not, kids don’t need to look at their wrists to tell time anymore. Heck, I have a custom-made Mickey Mouse watch that I spent weeks designing in conjunction with a Disney artist and wear with pride everyday, and I hardly ever look at it to tell the time. There’s always something (either a clock, a computer screen, or a mobile device) staring me in the face that has the time on it, so I have little need to do so. And, like you, I’m 40. So imagine what the average 18 year-old thinks?

    And as for toothpaste, I’m pretty sure they’re talking about when toothpaste tubes went from this to this. The direction of the writing is the key. That, and the larger diameter of the top, allowing the tube to stand on it even when the toothpaste is running out. What will they think of next, huh?

  4. jason says at August 19th, 2010 at 12:17 am :
    No worries, Brian, I’m not really all that sad, more just an old guy tut-tutting the damn kids and their lack of respect for their elders. You know how it is. Or at least how I am. :)

    The item about cursive honestly does bother me, though, and I’m not really sure why. It just seems wrong that it’s dying out, even though I rarely hand-write anything myself anymore. Maybe because so much emphasis was put on how important it was back when we were in elementary school.

    As for the toothpaste thing, that’s really odd, because the tubes I get look like this — more or less the way they’ve looked for decades. I wonder if the stand-up, wide-cap kind is a regional thing?

  5. jason says at August 19th, 2010 at 12:20 am :
    Oh, one more thing: your Mickey watch sounds really cool! You’ll have to put up a photo of it sometime. I’ve got a nice metal-bracelet style watch with a Star Wars stormtrooper on the face myself; I tend to save it for special occasions and have gotten a lot of compliments from people who probably never realized I was expressing my geekiness.

  6. Brian says at August 19th, 2010 at 12:33 am :
    Hmmm….photographing a watch. Sounds like a challenge. Let me think about that a bit…

    I also have some of the original (rejected) sketches lying around on my hard drive. Could make quite a blog post (and quite a cease & desist letter from Disney, but that’s another story…)

  7. jason says at August 19th, 2010 at 1:48 pm :
    Well, I certainly wouldn’t want to bring down the Wrath of Disney upon you. However, I am intrigued now about the story…

    Incidentally, if you care, this is my stormtrooper watch…

  8. Brian says at August 19th, 2010 at 3:08 pm :
    OK, that’s a cool watch. And 30+ years after the character first appeared!

    That’s one of the things I love about my Mickey watch – how ironic that a watch could be timeless!

  9. FamilyGreenberg.Com - By Popular Demand: The Mickey Mouse Watch says at August 20th, 2010 at 12:34 am :
    [...] Brian on According to the Class of 2014… [...]


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