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Class of 2014 unfamiliar with watches, cursive
Question of the Day
MILWAUKEE | For students entering college this fall, e-mail is too slow, phones have never had cords and their childhood computers are now in museums.
The class of 2014 thinks of Clint Eastwood more as a sensitive director than as Dirty Harry urging punks to “go ahead, make my day.” Few incoming freshmen know how to write in cursive or have ever worn a wristwatch.
These are among the 75 items on this year’s Beloit College Mindset List. The compilation, released Tuesday, is assembled each year by two officials at this private school of about 1,400 students in Beloit, Wis.
The list is meant to remind teachers that cultural references familiar to them might draw blank stares from college freshmen, most of whom were born in 1992.
Ever worry about a Russian missile strike on the U.S.? During these students’ lives, Russians and Americans have always been living together in outer space.
For example, as item No. 13 on the list says, “Parents and teachers feared that Beavis and Butt-head might be the voice of a lost generation.”
With far edgier content available today, such as “South Park” or online videos that push the envelope, there’s something quaint about recalling the hand-wringing that the MTV cartoon prompted, Mr. Nief said.
“I think we do that with every generation — we look back and say, ‘What were we getting so upset about?’” he said. “A, kids outgrow it and B, in retrospect we realize it really wasn’t that bad.”
Another Mindset List item might reflect a shift in Hollywood attitudes. Item No. 12 notes: “Clint Eastwood is better known as a sensitive director than as Dirty Harry.”
A number of incoming freshmen said they partially agreed with the item, noting that they were familiar with Mr. Eastwood’s work as an actor even if they hadn’t seen his films.
“I know he directed movies, but I also know he’s supposed to be sort of badass,” said Aaron Ziontz, 18, from Seattle.
Jessica Peck, a 17-year-old from Portland, Ore., disagreed with two items on the list — one that says few students know how to write in cursive, and another that suggests this generation seldom, if ever, uses snail mail.
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