Mom explains to son how college worked before the internet

Kids today will never know what it was like to register for a class in person.

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/ Source: TODAY
By Rachel Paula Abrahamson

Kathy Torrence couldn’t help but laugh when she received an early morning text from her 20-year-old son.

“How did any of college work before email? Like what did you do?” he wanted to know.

Torrence, 51, explained that if a class was canceled, the professor would leave a note on the door of the room.

“What if it was 8 am?” he replied. “You’d still have to wake up early and walk all the way in?”

That’s exactly what Torrence did at New Jersey’s Rowan University in the late 1980s.

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“We did live before email and the internet,” she wrote, to which the math major responded, “idk how.”

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Kathy Torrence started college in 1986.Courtesy of Kathy Torrence

Torrence understands life before Google and Amazon is a hard concept for young people to grasp. It even seems strange to her sometimes.

“It’s a totally different world,” she told TODAY Parents. “We used to have to register for course in person. You would stand in line and you wouldn’t know if the class was full until you got to the front. Now, it’s all online.”

Torrence said her son also struggled with how libraries worked in the olden days.

“We had a whole conversation about the how I’d go to the card catalog and look up the book I wanted,” she revealed. “Then, I’d walk over to the shelf and see if it was there.”

For snow day announcements, Torrence and her dorm mates would gather around a radio.

The exchange between Torrence and her son, which was posted to Facebook, has gone viral with more than 24,000 shares.

“Research by Microfiche, anyone?” wrote one person. Added another, “”I went through college as an ENGLISH MAJOR (meaning papers, papers, papers) with a MANUAL typewriter.”

Many recalled how exam scores were posted by social security numbers on a bulletin board.

“With the limitations on communication, things were so different,” Torrence told TODAY Parents. “But we didn’t realize -- you can’t miss what you don’t have.”