This is so cool–and based on young people I’ve given the lists to, so true.
Beloit College creates a “mindset list” each year about the incoming freshman. The list is labeled with the planned college graduation year and assumes four years in college. So basically, add four years to the high school graduation year. They have lists for 2002 (HS 1998 grads) through 2018
“Each August since 1998, Beloit College in Beloit, Wis., has released the Beloit College Mindset List, providing a look at the cultural touchstones and experiences that have shaped the worldview of students entering colleges and universities in the fall. Behind the light humor of the Mindset List there are always some serious issues about the future of the class and their role in the future of the nation. […] The Mindset List is assembled each year by Ron Nief and Tom McBride at Beloit College. It was initially created as a reminder to faculty to be wary of dated references and quickly became a catalog of the rapidly changing perception of each new generation as they make an important transition.”
So I gave my son, now 30, the list for 2007. Even though he’s got an additional decade of experience since then, much of the list was still true. I was shocked when he asked, “What’s a Datsun? What’s a snail darter? Leaded gas? Howard Cosell? A ‘Return’ key–is that something to do with a typewriter? Who ever actually sent or used a telegram? Who are the Osmonds?” Yep, those are all things that predated his childhood. (He’s never used a typewriter, can vaguely recall having seen one in a school office when he was a young kid or on old TV shows.)
These lists could be incredibly useful to authors, when you are writing about younger characters. Face it, if you’re in your fifties, you really do not know the mindset and life of young adults, even if you’ve got kids (or grandkids). So take a look at these lists to see the world through the eyes of a different generation.
For your edification and entertainment, the first half of the latest list (go to their site to see it all). Yep, looks accurate to me.
Students heading into their first year of college this year were generally born in 1996.
Among those who have never been alive in their lifetime are Tupac Shakur, JonBenet Ramsey, Carl Sagan, and Tiny Tim.
On Parents’ Weekend, they may want to watch out in case Madonna shows up to see daughter Lourdes Maria Ciccone Leon or Sylvester Stallone comes to see daughter Sophia.
For students entering college this fall in the Class of 2018…
1. During their initial weeks of kindergarten, they were upset by endlessly repeated images of planes blasting into the World Trade Center.
2. Since they binge-watch their favorite TV shows, they might like to binge-watch the video portions of their courses too.
3. Meds have always been an option.
4. When they see wire-rimmed glasses, they think Harry Potter, not John Lennon.
5. “Press pound” on the phone is now translated as “hit hashtag.”
6. Celebrity “selfies” are far cooler than autographs.
7. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart has always been the only news program that really “gets it right.”
8. Hard liquor has always been advertised on television.
9. Ralph Nader has always been running for President of the U.S.
10. They never sat glued to Saturday morning cartoon shows but have been hooked on FOX’s Sunday night “Animation Domination.”
11. The water cooler is no longer the workplace social center; it’s the place to fill your water bottle.
12. In their lifetime, a dozen different actors have portrayed Nelson Mandela on the big and small screen.
13. Women have always attended the Virginia Military Institute and the Citadel.
14. FOX News and MSNBC have always been duking it out for the hearts and minds of American viewers.
15. Pepsi has always refreshed travelers in outer space.
16. Hong Kong has always been part of China.
17. Courts have always been overturning bans on same-sex marriages.
18. Joe Camel has never introduced one of them to smoking.
19. Bosnia and Herzegovina have always been one nation.
20. Citizens have always had a constitutional right to a “dignified and humane death.”
21. Nicotine has always been recognized as an addictive drug requiring FDA oversight.
22. Students have always been able to dance at Baylor.
23. Hello Dolly…cloning has always been a fact, not science fiction.
24. Women have always been dribbling, and occasionally dunking, in the WNBA.
25. Ads for prescription drugs, noting their disturbing side effects, have always flooded the airwaves.
26. Hell has always been associated less with torment and more with nothingness.
27. Whether to embrace fat or spurn it has been a front page debate all their lives.
28. Parents have always been able to rely on a ratings system to judge violence on TV.
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