20 Ways College Is Different Since 1996

by ParentCo. June 03, 2016

Pomp and circumstance; can you hear it playing in your head?

June is here, and for many high school seniors and parents, graduation day has been marked on the calendar for years. The coveted rite of passage for any 18-year-old is to walk down the commencement aisle, shake all of the hands of the people who helped get them to that day, and then act like a six-year-old as they cartwheel back to their chair. Yes, it is graduation season. That time of the year when teenagers are winding down their high school career and looking forward to the next phase of their life while parents are measuring the dimensions of their child’s bedroom to see if a treadmill will ?t in the corner. This will be my 15th graduation as a high school counselor and each year I try to pass on some sort of wisdom to these eager young adults about the next phase of their life. While ordering my cap and gown for commencement this year, I started thinking about my college graduation 20 years ago. Yes, class of 2016, I graduated from college 20 years ago; so before I send you o? into this oh-so-scary world of iPhones, electric cars, and Siri, there are a few things I think you need to know. So here it goes, in no particular order, the top 20 things that you will never have to experience as a college student in 2016.

1 | Rolls of quarters for laundry

Assuming you do your own laundry, and I know many of you won’t, be thankful for plastic. All you have to do is swipe your card and choose the cycle. Twenty years ago, we had to go to the bank and get a roll or quarters or worse, scrounge around on our hands in knees in the back seat of our car to ?nd any lone quarter that might be

2 | Payphones and calling cards

Yikes. The dreaded germ infested phone that was mounted at the end of the hall. If we weren't lucky enough to share a land line with our roommate, we had to wait in line for what seemed like forever to make a call.

3 | Walkmen

The oversized yellow tape players that we had to lug around when we went running. Yes, I said cassette tapes and it wouldn't be the 90’s without a mix tape from a signi?cant other.

4 | Card catalog and micro?che

There are not even words to describe this archaic way of researching a paper.

5 | MTV's "The Real World"

The 90’s version of reality TV.

6 | Step aerobics

Enough said.

7 | Aqua Net, Sun In, and scrunchies

We sprayed our hair with an insane amount of Sun In and then laid out in the sun for hours hoping our long locks would resemble Rachel from "Friends."

8 | Greyhound bus service

Yes, this is a real thing. Many of us hopped on a bus to get back and forth to school.

9 | Land lines (no one had cell phones)

We had to survive college without cell phones, texting, and sel?es.

10 | No Internet

The world wide web had just started making it’s appearance on college campuses and the only way to access it was dial-up. We had to Ask Jeeve’s if we wanted to navigate anything in this strange new world.

11 | No Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, or Tinder

Gasp! We were able to get away with all sorts of things without the fear of having it shared all over social media.

12 | Letters

Yes, we used paper and pen to send our thoughts and feelings home to friends and family.

13 | Word Processors and typewriters

You might have to Google these to experience the full e?ect of our pain and su?ering.

14 | Lines

We had to stand in line for EVERYTHING. Amazon Prime and online registration were not a part of our world.

15 | Beer in a can

This was pre-microbrews and we were forced to endure cheap beer out of a can. We spent many nights with six packs of Coors, Miller, and Budweiser.

16 | Blue Books

You will never know the last minute panic on ?nals day because you forgot to buy this ridiculous booklet for your test.

17 | Checks

For EVERYTHING. Debit cards didn’t exist and the credit line for most credit cards was $250.

18 | Dry erase boards on dorm doors

Our version of texting with friends. If you really wanted to know what was going on, you had to check the noticeboards where anyone and everyone posted ?yers.

19 | Hacky Sack

Every college had these circle parties all over campus and you were either part of them or thought the people playing it were weird.

20 | Last but certainly not least, TV night

We used to gather in our community room to watch our favorite shows on an old school TV. Many nights were spent watching "Friends," "Beverly Hills," "90210," "ER," and "Seinfeld." Reading this list makes me wonder how we ever survived our college years so long ago, but we did and dare I say those were some pretty amazing days. What do you remember from your college days? What would you add to this list for our incoming college freshmen who think that life with a dead iPhone battery and temporary outages on Facebook are the end of the world?



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