Aug 29, 2014

What freshmen REALLY don't know

For the Class of 2018, students have always been able to dance at Baylor.

Born in the year France announced an end to nuclear tests and Bob Dole swept the Republican primaries, members of the class of 2018 have always had The Daily Show to give them the story behind the story and have always been able to communicate with “friends” through Facebook. 

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 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 1996.  And for the class of 2018,  the intrusions of digital technology are perfectly ordinary as grocery stores they shop in, as well as colleges to which they apply, relentlessly track their every move through increasingly sophisticated use of “Big Data.”  Issues of privacy and digital footprints left all over the internet are very real for this year’s entering class of freshmen.

For the complete Mindset List, visit the Beloit website.  In the meantime, here are some highlights: 

  • During the initial weeks of kindergarten, there were upset by endlessly repeated images of planes blasting into the World Trade Center.
  • Meds have always been an option.
  • When they see wire-rimmed glasses, they think Harry Potter, not John Lennon.
  • “Press pound” on the phone is now translated as “hit hashtag.”
  • Celebrity “selfies” are now far cooler than autographs
  • Hard liquor has always been advertised on television.
  • The water cooler is no longer the workplace social center; it’s the place to fill your water bottle.
  • Women have always attended the Virginia Military Institute and the Citadel.
  • Hong Kong has always been part of China.
  • Nicotine has always been recognized as an addictive drug requiring FDA oversight.
  • Students have always been able to dance at Baylor.
  • The Unabomber has always been behind bars.
  • There has always been a national database of sex offenders.
  • Bill Gates has always been the richest man in the U.S.
  • One route to pregnancy has always been through frozen eggs.
  • They have probably never used Netscape as their web browser.
  • Everybody has always Loved Raymond.
  • Affirmative Action has always been outlawed in California.
  • Their collection of U.S. quarters has always celebrated the individual states.

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