The traffic clogs on Main and Broad streets, the jam-packed sports utility vehicles and bleary-eyed and weary parents are the telltale signs that another Durham summer ritual is underway.
The Duke University freshmen are moving in to East Campus residence halls.
Most of these students about to jump into college life were born in 1990, a year when rising fuel prices were forcing airlines to make cuts and a different President Bush was sending troops to the Middle East.
Beloit College in Wisconsin, which for the past 11 years has released an annual College Mindset List, noted the similarities in today’s headlines.
Tom McBride, a humanities professor at Beloit, and Ron Nief, the public affairs director, also had this to say about the almost 2 million first-year students who head off to college campuses this month.
The mindset of the class of 2012, the list creators say, is very different from the freshmen of 1990.
There are teenagers who might find telephone hookups in their college rooms old-fashioned and unnecessary since most of them have seldom used landlines.
For these students, the Beloit list creators say, Sammy Davis Jr., Jim Henson, Ryan White, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Freddy Krueger have always been dead.
Beloit also says:
1. Harry Potter could be a classmate, playing on their Quidditch team.
2. Since they were in diapers, karaoke machines have been annoying people at parties.
3. They have always been looking for Carmen Sandiego.
4. GPS satellite navigation systems have always been available.
5. Coke and Pepsi have always used recycled plastic bottles.
6. Shampoo and conditioner have always been available in the same bottle.
7. Gas stations have never fixed flats, but most serve cappuccino.
8. Their parents may have dropped them in shock when they heard George Bush announce “tax revenue increases.”
9. Electronic filing of tax returns has always been an option.
10. Girls in head scarves have always been part of the school fashion scene.
11. All have had a relative--or known about a friend's relative--who died comfortably at home with Hospice.
12. As a precursor to “whatever,” they have recognized that some people “just don't get it.”
13. Universal Studios has always offered an alternative to Mickey in Orlando.
14. Grandma has always had wheels on her walker.
15. Martha Stewart Living has always been setting the style.
16. Haagen-Dazs ice cream has always come in quarts.
17. Club Med resorts have always been places to take the whole family. 18. WWW has never stood for World Wide Wrestling.
19. Films have never been X rated, only NC-17.
20. The Warsaw Pact is as hazy for them as the League of Nations was for their parents.
21. Students have always been “Rocking the Vote.”
22. Clarence Thomas has always sat on the Supreme Court.
23. Schools have always been concerned about multiculturaism.
24. We have always known that “All I Ever Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.”
25. There have always been gay rabbis.
26. Wayne Newton has never had a mustache.
27. College grads have always been able to Teach for America.
28. IBM has never made typewriters.
29. Roseanne Barr has never been invited to sing the National
30. McDonald's and Burger King have always used vegetable oil for cooking french fries.
31. They have never been able to color a tree using a raw umber Crayola.
32. There has always been Pearl Jam.
33. The Tonight Show has always been hosted by Jay Leno and started at 11:35 EST.
34. Pee-Wee has never been in his playhouse during the day.
35. They never tasted Benefit Cereal with psyllium.
36. They may have been given a Nintendo Game Boy to play with in the crib.
37. Authorities have always been building a wall across the Mexican border.
38. Lenin's name has never been on a major city in Russia.
39. Employers have always been able to do credit checks on employees.
40. Balsamic vinegar has always been available in the U.S.
41. Macaulay Culkin has always been Home Alone.
42. Their parents may have watched The American Gladiators on TV the day they were born.
43. Personal privacy has always been threatened.
44. Caller ID has always been available on phones.
45. Living wills have always been asked for at hospital check-ins.
46. The Green Bay Packers (almost) always had the same starting quarterback.
47. They never heard an attendant ask “Want me to check under the hood?”
48. Iced tea has always come in cans and bottles.
49. Soft drink refills have always been free.
50. They have never known life without Seinfeld references from a show about “nothing.”
51. Windows 3.0 operating system made IBM PCs user-friendly the year they were born.
52. Muscovites have always been able to buy Big Macs.
53. The Royal New Zealand Navy has never been permitted a daily ration of rum.
54. The Hubble Space Telescope has always been eavesdropping on the heavens.
55. 98.6 F or otherwise has always been confirmed in the ear.
56. Michael Millken has always been a philanthropist promoting prostate cancer research.
57. Off-shore oil drilling in the United States has always been prohibited.
58. Radio stations have never been required to present both sides of public issues.
59. There have always been charter schools.
60. Students always had Goose bumps.