August since 1998, Beloit College has released the Beloit College Mindset List,
providing a look at the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students
class of 2016 was born the year of the professional baseball strike and the
last year for NFL football in Los Angeles. They have spent much of their lives
helping their parents understand that you do not take pictures on “film” and
that CDs and DVDs are not “tapes.”
of this year’s freshman class, most born in 1994, are probably the most tribal
generation in history—they despise being out of contact with friends. They
prefer watching television everywhere except on a television, have seen a woman
lead the U.S. State Department for most of their lives, and can carry schoolbooks--those
not on their e-Readers--in backpacks that roll.
this generation of students entering college, Kurt Cobain, Jacqueline Kennedy
Onassis and Richard Nixon have always been dead. Also on the list:
should keep their eyes open for Justin Bieber or Dakota Fanning at freshman
have always lived in cyberspace, addicted to a new generation of “electronic
of them are unfamiliar with the Biblical sources of phrases such as “forbidden fruit,”
“the writing on the wall,” “good Samaritan” and “the promised land.”
Jackson’s family, not the Kennedys, constitutes “American Royalty.”
they miss The Daily Show, they can always get their news on YouTube.
lives have been measured in the fundamental particles of life: bits, bytes, and
De Niro? That’s Greg Focker’s long-suffering father-in-law, not Vito Corleone
or Jimmy Conway.
Clinton is a senior statesman of whose presidency they have little knowledge.
TV and in films, the ditzy dumb blonde female generally has been replaced by a
couple of Dumb and Dumber males.
paradox “too big to fail” has been, for their generation, what “we had to
destroy the village in order to save it” was for their grandparents’.
most of their lives, maintaining relations between the U.S. and the rest of the
world has been a woman’s job in the State Department.
can’t picture people actually carrying luggage through airports rather than
grown up with MP3s and iPods, they never listen to music on the car radio and
really have no use for radio at all.
they've been born, the U.S. has measured progress by a 2% jump in unemployment
and a 16-cent rise in the price of a first-class postage stamp.
Braddock, from the movie, “The Graduate,” having given up both a career in
plastics and a relationship with Mrs. Robinson, could be their grandfather.
folks have never gazed with pride on a new set of bound encyclopedias on the bookshelf.
Green Bay Packers have always celebrated with the Lambeau Leap.
bra straps have always been a fashion statement, not a wardrobe fail.
Real World has always stopped being polite and started getting real on MTV.
have always piloted war planes and space shuttles.
have lived in an era of instant stardom and self-proclaimed celebrities, famous
for being famous.
made the acquaintance of Furby at an early age, they have expected their toy
friends to do ever more unpredictable things.
icons with images of floppy discs for “save,” a telephone for “phone,” and a
snail-mail envelope for “mail” have oddly decorated their tablets and smartphone
Wars” has always been just a film, not a defense
have had to incessantly remind their parents not to refer to their CDs and DVDs
have always been blue M&Ms, but no tan ones.
year’s list includes additional items at www.beloit.edu/mindset and at www.themindsetlist.com.