Ferris Bueller’s Kid Goes To College

Not really, but it’s time for another reminder of just how young those darn college freshman actually are:

The current freshmen entering college who will make up the Class of 2015 have no remembrance of what life was like before the Internet, what this whole Communist Party fuss was about in Russia and that Amazon was once just known as a river in South America.

Ferris Bueller could technically be their dad at this point, and they probably don’t know the name of the bar where everybody knows your name.

It’s enough to make even those in their thirties feel ancient. It’s also part of the annual Beloit College Mindset List, which since 1998 has provided a look at the topics, cultural phenomena and more that will affect the lives of students entering college in the fall.


This year’s incoming class has no memory of the George Bush who once famously uttered, “Read my lips: No new taxes.” To them, he is just the elderly father of the George Bush who famously declared “Mission accomplished!” on an aircraft carrier when talking about operations in Iraq.

Text messaging has been a normal part of life, while dialing a phone (what’s a dial?) sounds like something out of the Stone Age. The thought of O.J. Simpson running a football rather than runningfrom the law is hard to fathom. Any story that starts to drag on gets cut short with a quick “yadda, yadda, yadda.”

You can find the whole list at Beloit College’s Mindset website, but here are the top 20:

1. There has always been an Internet ramp onto the information highway.
2. Ferris Bueller and Sloane Peterson could be their parents.
3. States and Velcro parents have always been requiring that they wear their bike helmets.
4. The only significant labor disputes in their lifetimes have been in major league sports.
5. There have always been at least two women on the Supreme Court, and women have always commanded U.S. Navy ships.
6. They “swipe” cards, not merchandise.
7. As they’ve grown up on websites and cell phones, adult experts have constantly fretted about their alleged deficits of empathy and concentration.
8. Their school’s “blackboards” have always been getting smarter.
9. “Don’t touch that dial!”….what dial?
10. American tax forms have always been available in Spanish.
11. More Americans have always traveled to Latin America than to Europe.
12. Amazon has never been just a river in South America.
13. Refer to LBJ, and they might assume you’re talking about LeBron James.
14. All their lives, Whitney Houston has always been declaring “I Will Always Love You.”
15. O.J. Simpson has always been looking for the killers of Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman.
16. Women have never been too old to have children.
17. Japan has always been importing rice.
18. Jim Carrey has always been bigger than a pet detective.
19. We have never asked, and they have never had to tell.
20. Life has always been like a box of chocolates.

I think the only appropriate response is, Get Off My Lawn, Kids.



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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. David says:

    Thanks, Doug. When I woke up this morning I was thinking, what would make this day even “better?”. I know, make myself feel older than dirt. Mission accomplished.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I know, make myself feel older than dirt. Mission accomplished.

    I always laugh at this list. And yes, I do remember the first dirt, it was cute and kinda cuddly, not like the dirt we have these days. Ahhhhh… the good old days.

  3. Jay Tea says:

    Let’s make it worse: any day now — if they haven’t already — Playboy Magazine will feature a Playmate of the Month who wasn’t even born when Bill Clinton became president.

    (That’s been my go-to “make you feel old” move for about 12 years.)


  4. John Peabody says:

    I just go to voting age…kids born in 1992 will be at the polls this year. The other trick is to subtract your age from the year you were born. I’m 51, that means events after 1918 (1959 minus 51) are closer to my birth year than the present day, such as Prohibition, start of commercial radio, Lindbirgh’s flight, etc.