WASHINGTON — The world has changed a lot since incoming college freshmen have been alive.
Beloit College has released its annual Mindset List, which looks at the cultural experiences and touchstones shaping the view of the world of the college class of 2018.
“It looks at how their worldview differs significantly from their mentors and even from people just a few years older than they are,” says list creator and co-editor Ron Nief, the Wisconsin college’s director of public affairs emeritus.
The Mindset List was originally created as a reminder to faculty to be wary of dated references, and has become a popular catalog of the quickly changing perception of each new generation.
Students in this year’s list were generally born in 1996.
They were born after Tupac Shakur, JonBenet Ramsey, Carl Sagan and Tiny Tim were already dead.
“They were only a couple weeks into kindergarten when they saw the endlessly repeated images of planes blasting into the World Trade Center, and the horrors that followed it,” Nief says of the events of Sept. 11, 2001.
On a less-serious topic, while previous generations saw round glasses and thought of Beatle John Lennon, “now, generally, it’s Harry Potter,” says Nief. “He’s become an icon of that generation.”
Nief says the differences in technology are very evident when young employees are trained on office phone systems.
“You tell them to press ‘press pound,’ and they look quizzically, until they explain ‘hit hashtag,'” says Nief.
The Beloit College Mindset List for the Class of 2018
During their initial weeks of kindergarten, they were upset by endlessly repeated images of planes blasting into the World Trade Center.
Since they binge-watch their favorite TV shows, they might like to binge-watch the video portions of their courses too.
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 far cooler than autographs.
The Daily Show has always been the only news program that really “gets it right.”
Hard liquor has always been advertised on television.
Ralph Nader has always been running for President of the U.S.
They never sat glued to Saturday-morning cartoon shows but have been hooked on FOX’s Sunday-night “Animation Domination.”
The water cooler is no longer the workplace social center; it’s the place to fill your water bottle.
In their lifetime, a dozen different actors have portrayed Nelson Mandela on the big and small screen.
Women have always attended VMI and the Citadel.
FOX News and MSNBC have always been duking it out for the hearts and minds of American viewers.
Pepsi has always refreshed travelers in outer space.
Hong Kong has always been part of China.
Courts have always been overturning bans on same-sex marriages.
Joe Camel has never introduced one of them to smoking.
Bosnia and Herzegovina have always been one nation.
Citizens have always had a constitutional right to a “dignified and humane death.”
Nicotine has always been recognized as an addictive drug requiring FDA oversight.
Students have always been able to dance at Baylor.