Over the next few weeks, American college campuses will be filling up with the new classes of freshmen. Kids starting at 4-year colleges this year will be on schedule to graduate as the Class of 2017. I was a college freshman in 1994. That just also just happens to be the year many of this year’s freshmen WERE BORN. Oh my scrunchy.
I wax nostalgic all the time with people my age, but this freshman class truly has no idea how far things have come within the world of technology and pop culture in the last 18 years. Just the other day I was laughing with some friends over the computer labs we used, and the ridiculously long email addresses we were assigned in college.
These modern kids don’t even know a world without DVD players, as DVD’s were invented in 1995.
I didn’t want the Class of 2017 to forget about all of the interesting and amazing and weird things that happened during their 1994 and 1995 birth years, so I decided to create a time capsule of information for them. As I was working on this list I also realized what I was compiling was basically a “things that happened to Dresden during her freshman year” list. And that sort of symmetry is some interesting math.
A Time Capsule of 1994 and 1995 for the Class of 2017:
Hello Class of 2017 1 of 24
Dear Class of 2017,
Your freshman year is going to be great! It doesn't matter if you don't know anyone today — by the end of the year you will have met the people who will become your best friends in your adult life. (Don't freak out about that.) Don't be in a rush to experience everything, but do have an open mind. When you meet someone new, find out their back story and then find out their favorite kind of music. Everyone loves to talk about music in college.
You were born in some exciting times. I've compiled some interesting stuff for you, but it might be more interesting for your mom. You can send her this link. That would be cool. - Dresden
Image Credit: University of Pennsylvania
Frappuccino is born 2 of 24
Once upon a time, there was no such thing as a Frappuccino. GASP. Eater LA has a great story about how this perfect beverage came to be. Greg Rogers was an assistant manager in 1994 at a Starbucks in Santa Monica. He says, "I told my Starbucks manager that we should have a frozen drink because it's so hot here." The rest is history!
Image Credit: Marta Spingardi
We say goodbye to Kurt and Jerry 3 of 24
I was on the spring break of my senior year of high school when I heard about the death of Kurt Cobain. A year later Jerry Garcia was found dead at a drug treatment facility. It is still so strange to me that people only think of Jerry Garcia as an ice-cream flavor inspiration, and Kurt as part of the backstory for the periodical fodder that is Courtney Love.
Winter Olympics became about one story 4 of 24
It's really a shame that what so many of us remember from the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics is the Harding/Kerrigan scandle. It was in 1994 that Tonya Harding's husband hired someone to attack Nancy Kerrigan before the two were scheduled to compete. NBC is working on a documentary about the incident that will air during the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014. I hope the Class of 2017 only have good stories in their freshman Winter Olympics.
Image Credit: Parade
World Series for 1994 and 1995 5 of 24
In 1994, major league baseball was on strike. The strike lasted all season and resulted in a complete wipeout of baseball for the year. The strike lasted 7 1/2 months and, according to ESPN, cost players millions of dollars and management about $1 billion. Baseball was back in 1995, and the Braves, who were the winningest team of the '90s, finally won a World Series.
What I remember most about the Braves during this era: The controversial "tomahawk chop" protests.
Superman continues to amaze 6 of 24
I remember being totally shocked by Christopher Reeve's accident. That he survived the fall was nothing short of a miracle. The work he did after the fall was inspirational. Professor Cameron B. Huckell from the Johns Hopkins University medical school said of the fall: "Most people who have a complete disruption of the spinal cord don't even make it to the hospital. Only patients who have been rapidly resuscitated survive the initial event, and then have a 60 to 70 percent mortality rate at one week."
Image Credit: Ebay
Well hello, Dolly (sort of) 7 of 24
We all grill inside 8 of 24
Here is how EPIC the George Foreman grill was — my grandparents had one. They used it EVERY NIGHT. It was a serious game changer for a lot of people. What makes these grills continue to be amazing is that they allow cooking to be accessible for many. NPR ran a story about "hidden kitchens" and how many homeless families rely on the ease and portability of these grills to cook meals for their families.
Image Credit: Ozzie News
Image Credit: Oregon State
Death of John Candy in 1994 10 of 24
In the spring of 1994, John Candy died of a heart attack. It's hard to imagine that an entire generation of kids exist without a real knowledge of this brilliant comic, but thank goodness for the longevity of movies. Spaceballs, Only the Lonely, and Planes, Trains, and Automobiles — we've got to make sure our kids watch these films!
Image Credit: IMDB
Everyone had support 11 of 24
When Bali introduced the Wonderbra to us in 1994, it caused some traffic accidents. Literally. The "Hello Boys" ad campaign has been voted one of the most iconic ad images of all times. With the successful campaign of Wonderbra, we heard people we never expected to hear start discussing undergarments. Now I hear women talk about their Spanx allllllllll the time. No biggie.
Image Credit: Wikipedia
Birth of Nutrageous 12 of 24
The Hershey Company released a BRAND NEW candy bar in 1994. It was created to be a candy bar based on the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. The candy is no longer available. The only candy sensation created in 2013 seems to be Candy Crush. This is very sad. Let's focus on making a new candy, people!
Image Credit: Wikipedia
Birth of blue 13 of 24
Can you believe the Class of 2017 doesn't know a world without blue M&M's?! In 1995, Mars, Incorporated had a contest to let the public vote for a new M&M color. Blue beat out pink and purple and was added to the family in the summer of 1995. We now live in a world where we can put our faces on M&M's or spell out marriage proposals.
Image Credit: Wikimedia
Animated movies aren’t just for kids 14 of 24
In the '90s, animated films completely changed. Lion King was released in 1994 and was the first Disney animated feature to be an original story, rather than based on an already-existing work. 1995 was even more WOW for animation, as a little company called Pixar brought us the first feature-length computer-animated film. I am still in awe that there seems to be a new animated feature for my son to enjoy every month — lucky, lucky kids!
Our movie tastes are varied 15 of 24
The beginning of 24 hour news obsession 16 of 24
In the summer before my freshman year of college, all of the TV stations went Bronco. It was the weirdest, seriously, THE WEIRDEST, moment of TV that I had ever seen. And yet, like everyone else, I couldn't take my eyes away from the white Bronco being chased by police on I-405. This truly was a turning point in ending traditional news cycles.
Image Credit: Bleach Report
We also like to escape at the movies 17 of 24
We honor rock and roll 18 of 24
Ensembles took over TV 19 of 24
While family shows like Home Improvement and Roseanne continued to be popular on TV in 1994 and 1995, ensemble shows like Friends and E.R. were on the rise. I wonder if the Class of 2017 will instead have fond memories of reality TV shows, like American Idol or So You Think You Can Dance?
Earnest music was earnest 20 of 24
Oh yes, Lisa Loeb totally came to the student center and performed at NYU in 1994. Music in 1994 and 1995 was heartfelt, passionate, and just a tad whimsical. I'll be watching the MTV VMA's to see who the Class of 2017 is crowning as their favorite artists. In addition to Lisa's big hit, "Stay (I Missed You)," 1994 and 1995 brought us:
"Hero" - Mariah Carey
"Power of Love" - Celine Dion
"The Sign" - Ace of Base
"Bump in Grind" - R Kelly
"I'll Make Love to You" - Boyz II Men
"Here Comes the Hotstepper" - Ini Kamoze
"Waterfalls" - TLC
"Kiss from a Rose" - Seal
"This is How We Do It" - Montell Jordan
Image Credit: Alt Music Forums
Birth of the DVD 21 of 24
Before the DVD, there was the VHS. I remember my grandfather being so annoyed that he had to purchase a VHS machine because the Beta-max player he had was obsolete. He grumbled that as soon as he bought a VHS player he bet something new would come along. He was a little bit right (and he refused to buy a DVD player until they had been out for quite a while!). Technology advances happen hourly now. For that reason, I am just a bit envious of the Class of 2017.
Image Credit: Wikimedia
Chicken and Tacos – together 22 of 24
Towards the end of 1995, KFC and Taco Bell got married. Sort of. The two franchises decided to start "co-branding" through a company that eventually was called Yum! This is also the group who decided to put a Pizza Hut next to a KFC next to a Taco Bell next to a Long John Silver's. In other words, it was a mini food court without the mall. Before 1995, if you wanted a bucket of chicken AND a bean burrito you had to go to two different locations.
Image Credit: Wikimedia
Estimated cost of living in 1994 23 of 24
Just to put these numbers in perspective, here are the numbers for 2012 for these same items:
Gallon of gas: $3.91
Dozen eggs: $1.54
Gallon of milk: $2.79
(A side note: It's really interesting to read the fluctuating cost of milk over the years. Oddly, in 2011 a gallon of milk averaged at $3.39)
Source: The People History
Politics go to the internet 24 of 24
On October 21, 1994 the very first White House website launched. The day the site launched, Al Gore, the inventor of the Internet (see what I did there?) said, "This service is an example of how we can provide government services and information to the public in a more timely manner, more efficiently and more cost effectively. It shows our continued commitment to being a leader in developing the National Information Infrastructure." Having such a tech-minded administration was incredibly inspiring for many in the '90s. I can't believe all of the open source data that is available to us now — I can't wait to see what the Class of 2017 builds online!
Image Credit: Wikimedia
More Posts by Dresden:
Salaries of Your Favorite TV Stars – You Won’t Believe It!
Let’s Get Ready for the MTV VMA’s!
Celebrities Who Changed Their Name When They Got To Hollywood
19 Songs About People: I Bet You Think This Song is About You
The Way We Were: 16 Famous Parents When They Were Their Kid’s Age
A Tribute to John Hughes
Finding Yourself at Four: a post inspired by Shot@Life