Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Incoming Freshman Class

Photo from the Asheville Citizen-Times

Every year, Wisconsin eagerly awaits the mindset for incoming college freshman, published by Beloit College. The following information was taken from their Website (cited at the end).

This month, almost 2 million first-year students will head off to college campuses around the country. Most of them will be about 18 years old, born in 1990 when headlines sounded oddly familiar to those of today: Rising fuel costs were causing airlines to cut staff and flight schedules; Big Three car companies were facing declining sales and profits; and a president named Bush was increasing the number of troops in the Middle East in the hopes of securing peace. However, the mindset of this new generation of college students is quite different from that of the faculty about to prepare them to become the leaders of tomorrow.

Each August for the past 11 years, Beloit College in Beloit, Wis., has released the Beloit College Mindset List. It provides a look at the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students entering college. It is the creation of Beloit’s Keefer Professor of the Humanities Tom McBride and Public Affairs Director Ron Nief. The List is shared with faculty and with thousands who request it each year as the school year begins, as a reminder of the rapidly changing frame of reference for this new generation.

The class of 2012 has grown up in an era where computers and rapid communication are the norm, and colleges no longer trumpet the fact that residence halls are “wired” and equipped with the latest hardware. These students will hardly recognize the availability of telephones in their rooms since they have seldom utilized landlines during their adolescence. They will continue to live on their cell phones and communicate via texting. Roommates, few of whom have ever shared a bedroom, have already checked out each other on Facebook where they have shared their most personal thoughts with the whole world.

It is a multicultural, politically correct and “green” generation that has hardly noticed the threats to their privacy and has never feared the Russians and the Warsaw Pact.
Students entering college for the first time this fall were generally born in 1990.
For these students, Sammy Davis Jr., Jim Henson, Ryan White, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Freddy Krueger have always been dead.
- GPS satellite navigation systems have always been available.
- Coke and Pepsi have always used recycled plastic bottles.
- Gas stations have never fixed flats, but most serve cappuccino.
- Electronic filing of tax returns has always been an option.
- All have had a relative--or known about a friend's relative--who died comfortably at home with Hospice.
- As a precursor to “whatever,” they have recognized that some people “just don’t get it.”
- Universal Studios has always offered an alternative to Mickey in Orlando.
- Martha Stewart Living has always been setting the style.
- WWW has never stood for World Wide Wrestling.
- Films have never been X rated, only NC-17.
- Clarence Thomas has always sat on the Supreme Court.
- There have always been gay rabbis.
- IBM has never made typewriters.
- McDonald’s and Burger King have always used vegetable oil for cooking french fries.
- They have never been able to color a tree using a raw umber Crayola.
- There has always been Pearl Jam.
- The Tonight Show has always been hosted by Jay Leno and started at 11:35 EST.
- Authorities have always been building a wall across the Mexican border.
- Lenin’s name has never been on a major city in Russia.
- Caller ID has always been available on phones.
- Living wills have always been asked for at hospital check-ins.
- They never heard an attendant ask “Want me to check under the hood?”
- Iced tea has always come in cans and bottles.
- Windows 3.0 operating system made IBM PCs user-friendly the year they were born.
- Muscovites have always been able to buy Big Macs.
- The Hubble Space Telescope has always been eavesdropping on the heavens.

Information and list taken from the Beloit College "Mindset List for the Class of 2012." The list has been pared for brevity. For complete list, go to:

Now, does that make you feel a little old? This magazine may make you feel better.

(Charles Summer)


Dog_geek said...

I can't believe that Harrison Ford in on the Old People magazine. He's not old, is he? Say it ain't so!

A few weeks back I was talking to some of our grad students about the Olympics, and for whatever reason, I mentioned Greg Louganis. All the grad students, in perfect unison, said "who?" Gah!!

troutbirder said...

Good grief! This is tooo depressing.

Jayne said...

LOL... Love that list! Indeed, I remember well the "phone" on the hallway that the entire dorm floor shared! Gee, how did we live?

The Birdlady said...

You know it, but then you read it all together, and it's an eye-opener! Talk about generation gap! Thanks for sharing that.

Mary said...

Good list, Carolyn.

“Want me to check under the hood?”
Gosh from the front passenger seat, through the narrow opening under the hood, I can still see the dip stick being lowered into the oilpan by a service station attendant. Wow - I forgot about that.

And IBM typewriters. I'll bet they never layed their eyes on one.

Great post. Times change faster than we think.

NCmountainwoman said...

Dog geek - Age is relative, but Harrison Ford is 66.

Troutbirder - Yes, it is. These kids were not born when Mary Lou Retton scored a perfect 10.

Jayne - Yep. There was the "regular" phone and the "house" phone.

Helen - Yes, reading it in one collection really brings it home.

Mary - Oh, yes. The times they are a-changing.