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Beloit College Mindset List says Class of 2014 can't write cursive

Beloit College Mindset List includes cultural touchstones for incoming college freshman, email is slow, wrist watches are obsolete, phones have always been cordless

By Casey BayerWeb Photo Editor / August 17, 2010

The class of 2014 (not pictured) can't write cursive, have never feared Russian missile attacks, and don't use wrist watches, according to the Beloit College Mindset List. Here, the class of 2010 are seen at the PACE Head Start program on the University of Southern Mississippi on May 25 during their graduation ceremony.

Ryan Moore/Hattiesburg American/AP

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If you're a college freshman this fall, the Beloit College Mindset List says you can't write cursive.

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That's OK, Billy Madison couldn't either in the 1995 film. He failed to correctly write "buzz" and "Rizzuto" in cursive. Those "z's" will get you!

Oh wait, do you not know who Billy Madison is? Or former Yankees shortstop Phil Rizzuto? That's understandable; you were only three-years-old when that movie came out.

And the Beloit College Mindset List didn't even exist at that point.

Since 1998, Beloit College professors Tom McBride and Ron Nief have released a 75-item list of cultural landmarks that shape the lives and perspectives of students entering this small Wisconsin college. Originally meant to be a reminder to faculty about dated references, the professors' list "became a catalog of the rapidly changing worldview of each generation," Beloit College says.

The class of 2014 considers Nirvana to be classic rock, they have never played with a telephone cord while talking on the phone, and do not find Korean-made cars unusual. They think of Clint Eastwood as a sensitive director and not as Dirty Harry, according to the Beloit list.

It says that this year's two million US freshmen are more than just imbibers of all that's digital. For them, "digital has always been in the cultural DNA."

They don't understand that tapping your left wrist means you'd like to know the time. They carry a cellphone, not a Casio.

Hot chocolate or a regular coffee isn't for this class. They roll with the "Caramel macchiato" and the "Venti half-caf vanilla latte" crowd.

For these soon to be university students, some of the historical references they've "missed" culturally are troubling:

No. 32 - Czechoslovakia has never existed for them.

No. 41 - American companies have always done business in Vietnam

No. 58 - Beethoven has always been a dog

No. 64 - The US, Canada, and Mexico have always agreed to trade freely.

And that's just a start.

Beloit says that this generation, which is so used to instant access, must learn to develop patience, and how to research information in books and journals. It will be up to their professors to teach them the difference between information and knowledge.

Our Top 5 favorites from the Beloit College Mindset List for the Class of 2014:

1. Rock bands have always played at presidential inaugural parties.
2. Walmart has never sold handguns over the counter in the lower 48.
3. The Post Office has always been going broke.
4. One way or another, “It’s the economy, stupid” and always has been.
5. The first computer they probably touched was an Apple II; it is now in a museum.

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