Aug 31, 2015

What freshmen may or may not know

Born the year Princess Diana was killed in a car accident in Paris and Notorious B.I.G. was gunned down in Los Angeles, members of the Class of 2019 have never licked a postage stamp and have always been able to turn to “Google” to do their research for them.  They take “Wi-Fi” for granted and consider email an ordinary but increasingly outmoded form of communication.

Each August since 1998, Beloit College has released the College Mindset List, the brainchild of Tom McBride, Emeritus Professor of English; Ron Nief, former public affairs director; and Charles Westerberg, Director of the Liberal Arts in Practice Center and Brannon-Ballard Professor of Sociology. Designed to clue faculty into what their new frosh experienced growing up and help them “be wary of dated references,” the list traditionally signals the start of the academic year.

Items on this year's list reflect the cultural and political world views of today’s 18-year-olds, most of whom were born in 1997.  And for better or worse, this group will no doubt think of the “last century” as the twentieth.

For the complete Mindset List, visit the Beloit website.  In the meantime, here are some highlights: 
  • The airport in Washington D.C. has always been Reagan National
  • There has always been an imaginary town in Colorado called South Park
  • Hong Kong has always been under Chinese rule
  • There has always been a hybrid version of the Toyota Prius
  • The Atlanta Braves have always played at Turner Field
  • Color photos have always found a place on the front page of the New York Times
  • Scotland and Wales have always had their own parliaments and assemblies
  • The Houston Oilers have never played in Houston
  • Harry Potter and friends have always been at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
  • The Commonwealth of Virginia has always been without an official state song
  • Phish Food has always been available from Ben and Jerry
  • Paul McCartney and Elton John have always been knights
  • The Lion King has always had a Broadway presence
  • CNN has always been available in Spanish
  • There has always been a Splenda alternative
…and there has always been a Beloit College Mindset List!

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