Most students entering college for the first time this fall were born in 1994. For these students, Kurt Cobain, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Richard Nixon and John Wayne Gacy have always been dead.
Every year, Beloit College in Beloit, Wis., releases its Mindset List to give a snapshot of how the incoming freshmen class views the world. You can see the full 75-item list here: http://www.beloit.edu/mindset/2016/ but here are a few excerpts I thought were interesting.
2. They have always lived in cyberspace, addicted to a new generation of “electronic narcotics.”
4. Michael Jackson’s family, not the Kennedys, constitutes “American royalty.”
6. Their lives have been measured in the fundamental particles of life: bits, bytes, and bauds.
8. Bill Clinton is a senior statesman of whose presidency they have little knowledge of.
9. They have never seen an airplane “ticket.”
13. They can’t picture people actually carrying luggage through airports rather than rolling it.
15. Having grown up with MP3s and iPods, they never listen to music on the car radio and really have no use for radio at all.
18. Their folks have never gazed with pride on a new set of bound encyclopedias on the bookshelf.
20. Exposed bra straps have always been a fashion statement, not a wardrobe malfunction to be corrected quietly by well-meaning friends.
21. A significant percentage of them will enter college already displaying some hearing loss.
23. Women have always piloted war planes and space shuttles.
25. They have lived in an era of instant stardom and self-proclaimed celebrities, famous for being famous.
27. Outdated icons with images of floppy discs for “save,” a telephone for “phone,” and a snail-mail envelope for “mail” have oddly decorated their tablets and smartphone screens.
28. Star Wars has always been just a film, not a defense strategy.
29. They have had to incessantly remind their parents not to refer to their CDs and DVDs as “tapes.”
30. There have always been blue M&Ms, but no tan ones.
35. Probably the most tribal generation in history, they despise being separated from contact with their similar-aged friends.
42. Gene therapy has always been an available treatment.
44. Their folks have always been able to grab an Aleve when the kids started giving them a migraine.
47. Before they buy an assigned textbook, they will check to see whether it’s available for rent or purchase as an e-book.
48. They grew up, somehow, without the benefits of Romper Room.
54. NBC has never shown “It’s a Wonderful Life” more than twice during the holidays.
56. They have always enjoyed school and summer camp memories with a digital yearbook.
57. Herr Schindler has always had a List; Mr. Spielberg has always had an Oscar.
60. History has always had its own channel.
63. The Twilight Zone involves vampires, not Rod Serling.
65. Little Caesar has always been proclaiming “Pizza Pizza.”
67. Chronic fatigue syndrome has always been officially recognized with clinical guidelines.
68. They watch television everywhere but on a television.
69. Pulp Fiction’s meal of a “royale with cheese” and an “Amos and Andy milkshake” has little or no resonance with them.
70. Point-and-shoot cameras are soooooo last millennium.
71. Despite being preferred urban gathering places, two-thirds of the independent bookstores in the United States have closed for good during their lifetimes.
74. Genomes of living things have always been sequenced.
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