Monday, October 16, 2006

The Mindset List

Technically I'm still on holiday from posting, but here's the Beloit College Mindset List for this year's crop of college freshmen. Says Netscape, by way of an explanation:

Every year Beloit College in Beloit, Wisconsin publishes what it calls "The Mindset List"--fun facts and figures about the incoming crop of freshmen so professors will be able to relate to their new students. Beloit says the list is a reminder that the world view of today's new college students is significantly different from the intellectual framework of those students who entered only a few years earlier. Put another way, it's a reminder that you are getting on in years.

Most of today's college freshmen were born in 1988. They grew up with a mouse in one hand and a computer screen as part of their worldview. They learned to surf the Internet as they learned to read. While they were still in their cribs, the 20th century started to close as the Berlin Wall came down, the Soviet bloc disintegrated and frequent traditional wars in Latin America gave way to the uncontrolled terrors of the Middle East. For them: Billy Carter, Lucille Ball, Gilda Radner, Billy Martin, Andy Gibb and Secretariat have always been dead.


Beloit College's Mindset List for the Class of 2010:

1. The Soviet Union has never existed and therefore is about as scary as the student union.
2. They have known only two presidents.
3. For most of their lives, major U.S. airlines have been bankrupt.
4. Manuel Noriega has always been in jail in the United States. [Now, what percent of them know who he is?]
5. They have grown up getting lost in "big boxes."
6. There has always been only one Germany.
7. They have never heard anyone actually "ring it up" on a cash register.
8. They are wireless, yet always connected.
9. A stained blue dress is as famous to their generation as a third-rate burglary was to their parents'.
10. Thanks to pervasive headphones in the back seat, parents have always been able to speak freely in the front.
11. A coffee has always taken longer to make than a milkshake.
12. Smoking has never been permitted on U.S. airlines.
13. Faux fur has always been a necessary element of style. [Ugh.]
14. The Moral Majority has never needed an organization.
15. They have never had to distinguish between the St. Louis Cardinals baseball and football teams.
16. DNA fingerprinting has always been admissible evidence in court.
17. They grew up pushing their own miniature shopping carts in the supermarket.
18. They grew up with and have outgrown faxing as a means of communication.
19. "Google" has always been a verb.
20. Text messaging is their e-mail.
21. Milli Vanilli has never had anything to say.
22. Mr. Rogers, not Walter Cronkite, has always been the most trusted man in America.
23. Bar codes have always been on everything, from library cards and snail mail to retail items.
24. Madden has always been a game, not a Super Bowl-winning coach.
25. "Phantom of the Opera" has always been on Broadway.
26. Boogers candy has always been a favorite for grossing out parents.
27. There has never been a skyhook in the NBA.
28. Carbon copies are oddities found in their grandparents' attics.
29. Computerized player pianos have always been tinkling in the lobby.
30. Nondenominational mega-churches have always been the fastest growing religious organizations in the United States.
31. They grew up in minivans.
32. Reality shows have always been on television.
33. They have no idea why we needed to ask "...can we all get along?"
34. They have always known that "In the criminal justice system the people have been represented by two separate yet equally important groups."
35. Young women's fashions have never been concerned with where the waist is.
36. They have rarely mailed anything using a stamp. [Oh, come on!]
37. Brides have always worn white for a first, second or third wedding. [And it's still tacky!]
38. Being techno-savvy has always been inversely proportional to age.
39. "So" as in "Sooooo New York," has always been a drawn-out adjective modifying a proper noun, which in turn modifies something else.
40. Affluent troubled teens in Southern California have always been the subjects of television series.
41. They have always been able to watch wars and revolutions live on television.
42. Ken Burns has always been producing very long documentaries on PBS.
43. They are not aware that "flock of seagulls hair" has nothing to do with birds flying into it.
44. Retin-A has always made America look less wrinkled.
45. Green tea has always been marketed for health purposes.
46. Public school officials have always had the right to censor school newspapers.
47. Small white holiday lights have always been in style.
48. Most of them never had the chance to eat bad airline food. [You mean there's good airline food?]
49. They have always been searching for "Waldo."
50. The really rich have regularly expressed exuberance with outlandish birthday parties. [Hasn't Beloit ever heard of the Vanderbilts or the Gilded Age?]
51. Michael Moore has always been showing up uninvited.
52. They never played the game of state license plates in the car. [Fiddlesticks. We didn't all have TV's in there.]
53. They have always preferred going out in groups as opposed to dating.
54. There have always been live organ donors.
55. They have always had access to their own credit cards. [In which alternate universe???]
56. They have never put their money in a "Savings & Loan."
57. Sara Lee has always made underwear. [Sara Lee makes what?!!]
58. Bad behavior has always been getting captured on amateur videos.
59. Disneyland has always been in Europe and Asia.
60. They never saw Bernard Shaw on CNN.
61. Beach volleyball has always been a recognized sport.
62. Acura, Lexus and Infiniti have always been luxury cars of choice.
63. Television stations have never concluded the broadcast day with the national anthem.
64. LoJack transmitters have always been finding lost cars.
65. Diane Sawyer has always been live in "Prime Time."
66. Dolphin-free canned tuna has always been on sale.
67. Disposable contact lenses have always been available.
68. "Outing" has always been a threat. [When I was a freshie, it was a really cool club...]
69. "Oh, The Places You'll Go" by Dr. Seuss has always been the perfect graduation gift.
70. They have always "dissed" what they don't like.
71. The United States has always been studying global warming to confirm its existence.
72. Richard M. Daley has always been the mayor of Chicago.
73. They grew up with virtual pets to feed, water and play games with, lest they die.
74. Ringo Starr has always been clean and sober. [Heck, for this bunch he was the first Mr. Conductor on Shining Time Station, and that's about it.]
75. Professional athletes have always competed in the Olympics.
(Source: Beloit College, Beloit, Wisconsin)

I decided to test out one item on Hon. Son #1, who is a little older than the demographic. "Milli Vanilli,"
I said as he was goofing off on the computer this afternoon.
"Huh?"
"Does 'Milli Vanilli' mean anything to you?"
"Uhhh...not much."
I didn't think so. Maybe when he gets back from class, I'll try Flock of Seagulls.

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