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Things college freshman only know as history
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You might not know Beloit College in Wisconsin, but a group of faculty and staff members have put the college on the map with their annual Mindset List.

This year, the list is 18 years old, the same age as most college freshmen.

The list for the class of 2019 is very telling about young people beginning their four-year (wink wink) journey through college.

For example, this year’s group of college freshmen only knows Turner Field as the home of the Atlanta Braves. By the time they arrived on the planet, the old Atlanta Fulton County Stadium had been razed and turned into a parking lot.

People they only know as historical figures include Princess Diana, Jacques Cousteau, Mother Teresa and, of course, rapper Notorious B.I.G. He was also known as Biggie Smalls and recorded his first album, “Ready to Die” in 1994. Ready or not, he was killed in a drive by shooting in 1997.

The freshman class has never licked a postage stamp and believes hybrid cars have always been mass produced.

When you speak to these young folks about “turn of the century,” they may ask “which one.”

A few things were true when they were mere toddlers. Cell phones were expensive big devices and kept in the car for emergencies. It’s a shame that had to change.

Now, teachers can’t tell if kids are using their phones to take notes or plan a party.

The Internet has gone from something parents encouraged their children to use to something they beg them to get off.

When I was a kid, my mother thought Paul McCartney needed a haircut and Elton John needed a less flashy wardrobe. This class only knows them as two British entertainers who have been knighted by the queen.

The Commonwealth of Virginia has been without a state song all of their lives. The state did away with “Carry Me Back to Old Virginny” and never could settle on a new one.

The Houston Oilers are a footnote in the NFL history books to this crowd. Incidentally, they are now the Tennessee Titans.

It pains me to say this, but the freshman class looks at email as formal communications, while texts and tweets are the informal. This is yet another of the reasons I am unhappy Al Gore invented the Internet.

To this group, “The Lion King” has always been on Broadway. I don’t know if that’s good or bad.

I have been a member of my church long enough to have seen the current freshman class grow from toddlers to young men and women. Some of my fondest memories are of their cute little baby-like faces with melt-your-heart smiles.

As they head off to college, they are still in the stage where they know more than their parents. They did, however, accept their parents’ generous purchases of bedding, lamps, a dorm-sized refrigerator and a new computer.

The computer will soon be outdated and dorm decorations will only be useful until they move into an off-campus apartment.

A year from now, Beloit College will likely return with a new list for the class of 2020 and we will be amazed again at how much stuff we think of as new is standard fare for them. In some ways the list makes them look so young and makes me feel so ancient.

Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on gainesvilletimes.com/harris.

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