Today’s students have a different (not better or worse, just different) mindset from those born 10, 20, 30+ years ago. To reach your students, you have to understand how they think. In order to help the faculty at Beloit College, one of the professors compiles an annual mindset list for the incoming freshmen. You might find this information interesting – and useful.
A note about the Beloit College Mindset List
To save readers the time and effort of writing to us about the Beloit College Mindset List, we offer four brief explanations.
The Mindset List is not a chronological listing of things that happened in the year that the entering first-year students were born.
Our effort is to identify a worldview of 18 year-olds in the fall of 2007. We take a risk in some cases of making generalizations, particularly given that our students at Beloit College for instance come from every state and scores of nations.
The “Class of 2011” refers to students entering college this year. They are generally 18 which suggests they were born in 1989.
The list identifies the experiences and event horizons of students as they commence higher education and is not meant to reflect on their preparatory education.
BELOIT COLLEGE’S MINDSET LIST®
FOR THE CLASS OF 2011
Most of the students entering College this fall, members of the Class of 2011, were born in 1989. For them, Alvin Ailey, Andrei Sakharov, Huey Newton, Emperor Hirohito, Ted Bundy, Abbie Hoffman, and Don the Beachcomber have always been dead.
- What Berlin wall?
- Humvees, minus the artillery, have always been available to the public.
- Rush Limbaugh and the “Dittoheads” have always been lambasting liberals.
- They never “rolled down” a car window.
- Michael Moore has always been angry and funny.
- They may confuse the Keating Five with a rock group.
- They have grown up with bottled water.
- General Motors has always been working on an electric car.
- Nelson Mandela has always been free and a force in South Africa.
- Pete Rose has never played baseball.
- Rap music has always been mainstream.
- Religious leaders have always been telling politicians what to do, or else!
- “Off the hook” has never had anything to do with a telephone.
- Music has always been “unplugged.”
- Russia has always had a multi-party political system.
- Women have always been police chiefs in major cities.
- They were born the year Harvard Law Review Editor Barack Obama announced he might run for office some day.
- The NBA season has always gone on and on and on and on.
- Classmates could include Michelle Wie, Jordin Sparks, and Bart Simpson.
- Half of them may have been members of the Baby-sitters Club.
- Eastern Airlines has never “earned their wings” in their lifetime.
- No one has ever been able to sit down comfortably to a meal of “liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.”
- Wal-Mart has always been a larger retailer than Sears and has always employed more workers than GM.
- Being “lame” has to do with being dumb or inarticulate, not disabled.
- Wolf Blitzer has always been serving up the news on CNN.
- Katie Couric has always had screen cred.
- Al Gore has always been running for president or thinking about it.
- They never found a prize in a Coca-Cola “MagiCan.”
- They were too young to understand Judas Priest’s subliminal messages.
- When all else fails, the Prozac defense has always been a possibility.
- Multigrain chips have always provided healthful junk food.
- They grew up in Wayne’s World.
- U2 has always been more than a spy plane.
- They were introduced to Jack Nicholson as “The Joker.”
- Stadiums, rock tours and sporting events have always had corporate names.
- American rock groups have always appeared in Moscow.
- Commercial product placements have been the norm in films and on TV.
- On Parents’ Day on campus, their folks could be mixing it up with Lisa Bonet and Lenny Kravitz with daughter Zöe, or Kathie Lee and Frank Gifford with son Cody.
- Fox has always been a major network.
- They drove their parents crazy with the Beavis and Butt-Head laugh.
- The “Blue Man Group” has always been everywhere.
- Women’s studies majors have always been offered on campus.
- Being a latchkey kid has never been a big deal.
- Thanks to MySpace and Facebook, autobiography can happen in real time.
- They learned about JFK from Oliver Stone and Malcolm X from Spike Lee.
- Most phone calls have never been private.
- High definition television has always been available.
- Microbreweries have always been ubiquitous.
- Virtual reality has always been available when the real thing failed.
- Smoking has never been allowed in public spaces in France.
- China has always been more interested in making money than in reeducation.
- Time has always worked with Warner.
- Tiananmen Square is a 2008 Olympics venue, not the scene of a massacre.
- The purchase of ivory has always been banned.
- MTV has never featured music videos.
- The space program has never really caught their attention except in disasters.
- Jerry Springer has always been lowering the level of discourse on TV.
- They get much more information from Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert than from the newspaper.
- They’re always texting 1 n other.
- They will encounter roughly equal numbers of female and male professors in the classroom.
- They never saw Johnny Carson live on television.
- They have no idea who Rusty Jones was or why he said “goodbye to rusty cars.”
- Avatars have nothing to do with Hindu deities.
- Chavez has nothing to do with iceberg lettuce and everything to do with oil.
- Illinois has been trying to ban smoking since the year they were born.
- The World Wide Web has been an online tool since they were born.
- Chronic fatigue syndrome has always been debilitating and controversial.
- Burma has always been Myanmar.
- Dilbert has always been ridiculing cubicle culture.
- Food packaging has always included nutritional labeling.
Here is this year’s 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 U.S.
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 head phones 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.
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. Non-denominational mega-churches have always been the fastest growing. religious organizations in the U.S.
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.
37. Brides have always worn white for a first, second, or third wedding.
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 have never had the chance to eat bad airline food.
49. They have always been searching for “Waldo”.
50. The really rich have regularly expressed exuberance with outlandish birthday parties.
51. Michael Moore has always been showing up uninvited.
52. They never played the game of state license plates in the car.
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.
56. They have never put their money in a “Savings & Loan.”
57. Sara Lee has always made underwear.
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.
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 U.S. 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.
75. Professional athletes have always competed in the Olympics.
Lists for previous years can be found at http://www.beloit.edu/~pubaff/mindset/.