What College Freshmen Know:
A Perspective For Older Folks
The people who are starting college this fall across the nation were
born in 1980. They have no meaningful recollection of the Reagan era and
did not know he had ever been shot. They were prepubescent when the
Persian Gulf War was waged. Black Monday 1987 is as significant to them
as the Great Depression.
There has only been one Pope.
They can only really remember one president.
They were 11 when the
Soviet Union broke apart and do not remember the Cold War.
They have never feared a nuclear war. "The Day After" is a pill to them, not a
movie. CCCP is just a bunch of letters. They have only known one Germany.
They are too young to remember the Space shuttle blowing up and
Tienamin Square means nothing to them. They do not know who Moamar
Their lifetime has always included AIDS. They never had a Polio shot and
likely do not know what it is. Bottle caps have not only always been
screw off but have always been plastic. They have no idea what a pull
top can looks like. Atari pre-dates them, as do vinyl albums. The
expression "you sound like a broken record" means nothing to them. They
have never owned a record Player.
They have likely never played Pac Man and have never heard of Pong.
Star Wars looks very fake, and the special
effects are pathetic. There have always been red M&M's and blue ones are
not new. What do you mean there used to be beige ones?
They may have heard of an 8-track but chances are they probably have
never actually seen or heard one. The Compact Disc was introduced when
they were 1 year old. As far as they know, stamps have always cost about
Zip codes have always had a dash in them. They have always had an
answering machine. Most have never seen a TV set with only 13 channels,
nor have they seen a black and white TV. They have always had cable.
There have always been VCR's, but they have no idea what Beta is. They
cannot fathom not having a remote control. They were born the year that
Walkman were introduced by Sony.
Roller-skating has always meant inline
for them. They have never heard of King Cola, Burger Chef, The Globe
Democrat, Pan AM or Ozark Airlines. The Tonight Show has always been
hosted by Jay Leno. They have no idea when or why Jordache jeans were
cool. Popcorn has always been cooked in a microwave.
They have never seen and remember a game that included the St. Louis
Football Cardinals, the Baltimore Colts, the Minnesota North Stars, the
Kansas City Kings, the New Orleans Jazz, the Minnesota Lakers, the
Atlanta Flames, or the Denver Rockies (NHL hockey, that is). They do
not consider the Colorado Rockies, the Florida Marlins, the Florida
Panthers, the Ottawa Senators, the San Jose Sharks or the Tampa Bay
Lightning "expansion teams."
They have never seen Larry Bird play, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is a
football player. They never took a swim and thought about Jaws. The
Vietnam War is as ancient history to them as WWI, WWII or even the Civil
War. They have no idea that Americans were ever held hostage in Iran.
They can't imagine what hard contact lenses are. They don't know who
Mork was or where he was from. They never heard the terms "Where's the
beef?", "I'd Walk a mile for Camel", or "de plane, de plane!". They do
not care who shot J.R. and have no idea who J.R. is. The Cosby Show,
The Facts of Life, Silver Spoons, The Love Boat, Miami Vice, WKRP in
Cincinnati and Taxi are shows they have likely never seen.
The Titanic was found? I didn't know it was lost. Michael Jackson has
always been white. They cannot remember the Cardinals ever winning a
World Series or even being in one. Kansas, Chicago, Boston, America and
Alabama are places, not groups. McDonalds never came in Styrofoam
Do you feel old now? Remember, the people who don't know these things
will be in college this year. And it won't be long and they'll be running the
businesses as well as the country.
Please share your ideas, suggestions, or reports ...