Aug 23, 2011

What Freshmen Don’t Know

Born in the year the Internet took off and Amazon set up shop, members of the class of 2015 are the first to grow up taking the word “online” for granted. Ferris Bueller could be their dad, and the only significant labor disputes in their lifetimes have been in major league sports.

Each August since 1998, Beloit College has released the College Mindset List, the brainchild of Tom McBride, Keefer Professor of the Humanities and Ron Nief, former public affairs director. Designed to clue professors into what their new frosh experienced growing up, the list traditionally signals the start of the academic year.

Items on the list reflect the cultural and political world views of today’s 18-year-olds. For the class of 2015, most of them born in 1993, “Dial-up,” Woolworths and the Sears “Big Book” are as distant to them as “talking machines” might have been to their grandparents. And Andre the Giant, River Phoenix, Frank Zappa and Arthur Ashe have always been dead.

Here are some additional highlights:

• There has always been an Internet
• States have always required they wear bike helmets
• There have always been at least two women on the Supreme Court
• US tax forms have always been available in Spanish
• OJ Simpson has always been looking for the killers of Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman
• Life has always been like a box of chocolates
• There has never been an official Communist Party in Russia
• Video games have always had ratings
• The Rocky Horror Picture Show has always been available on TV
• Faux Christmas trees have always outsold real ones
• Music has always been available via free downloads
• No state has ever failed to observe Martin Luther King Day
• Fidel Castro’s daughter and granddaughter have always lived in the US
• Women have always commanded U.S. Navy ships
• Frasier, Sam, Woody, and Rebecca have never frequented a bar in Boston during primetime
• Major League Baseball has never lacked a wild card entry in the playoffs
• Refugees and prisoners have always been housed by the US government at Guantanamo

Kinda makes you feel old.

For the complete list as well as lists going back to 2002, visit the Beloit College website.

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