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Kurt Cobain as he appears in Activision's Guitar Hero 5, perhaps the only way the graduating class of 2014 may know him. (Gamespress photo)
Kurt Cobain as he appears in Activision's Guitar Hero 5, perhaps the only way the graduating class of 2014 may know him. (Gamespress photo)

Nirvana a classic oldie? What today's college student believes Add to ...

For students entering college this fall, e-mail is too slow, phones have never had cords and Clint Eastwood brings to mind a sensitive film director, not the catchphrase "go ahead, make my day." 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. It is meant to remind teachers that cultural references familiar to them might draw blank stares from college freshmen born mostly in 1992. Of course, it can also have the unintended consequence of making people feel old.

These are some of what's made the list for the graduating classes or 2014, 2009, and 2004.

Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas performs during a concert for more than 100,000 people on the Plains of Abraham, July 16, 2010, as part of the Quebec Summer Festival in Quebec City.


  • Few in the class know how to write in cursive.
  • "Go west, young college grad," has always implied "and don't stop until you get to Asia and learn Cantonese along the way."
  • "Caramel macchiato" and "venti half-caff vanilla latte" have always been street-corner lingo.
  • A quarter of the class has at least one immigrant parent, and the immigration debate is not a big priority unless it involves "real" aliens from another planet
  • Fergie is a pop singer, not a princess.
  • Unless they found one in their grandparents' closet, they have never seen a carousel of slides.
  • Czechoslovakia has never existed.
  • Russians and Americans have always been living together in space.
  • Nirvana is on the classic oldies station.
  • The United States, Canada, and Mexico have always agreed to trade freely.

Edmonton Oilers captain Wayne Gretzky gets ready to hoist the Stanley Cup during the presentation in Edmonton, Alta., in this May 31, 1985, file photo. At left is Paul Coffey and at right is Mike Krushilnyski.


  • They don't remember when "cut and paste" involved scissors.
  • Heart-lung transplants have always been possible.
  • Wayne Gretzky never played for Edmonton.
  • Al-Qaeda has always existed with Osama bin Laden at its head.
  • Voice mail has always been available.
  • "Whatever" is not part of a question but an expression of sullen rebuke.
  • Money put in their savings account the year they were born earned almost 7-per-cent interest.
  • Snowboarding has always been a popular winter pastime.
  • Digital cameras have always existed.
  • America's Funniest Home Videos has always been on television.

Mike Farrell, left, and Alan Alda starred in the hit TV sitcom M.A.S.H., which ran from 1972 to 1983.


  • They have probably never lost anything in shag carpeting.
  • M.A.S.H. and The Muppet Show have always been in re-runs.
  • There have always been ABM machines.
  • They have always been able to afford Calvin Klein.
  • They have never heard a phone "ring."
  • They never dressed up for a plane flight.
  • "Coming out" parties celebrate more than debutantes.
  • They have never used a bottle of correction fluid.
  • "Spam" and "cookies" are not necessarily foods.
  • They feel more danger from having sex and being in school, than from possible nuclear war.

Sources: Associated Press; Beloit College

The Globe's Back to School Guide

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