Members of this year’s freshman class, most of whom were born in 1994, prefer to watch television everywhere except on a television, have seen a woman lead the U.S. State Department for most of their lives and can carry school books–those that are not on their e-readers–in backpacks that roll.
Beloit College in Wisconsin has issued its annual Mindset List, something it has produced every year since 1998. The list provides a look at the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students entering college this fall. This year covers the class of 2016, members of whom have never needed an actual airline ticket or a set of bound encyclopedias.
The class of 2016 spent much of their lives helping their parents understand that you don’t take pictures on film and that CDs and DVDs are not tapes. In these students’ lifetimes, with MP3 players and iPods, they seldom listen to the car radio. In fact, a quarter of the entering students already have suffered some hearing loss.
For this generation of entering college students, Kurt Cobain, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Richard Nixon and John Wayne Gacy have always been dead. Freshmen should keep their eyes open for Justin Bieber or Dakota Fanning at freshman orientation.
The Biblical sources of terms such as “Forbidden Fruit,” “The writing on the wall,” “Good Samaritan,” and “The Promised Land” are unknown to most of them. Michael Jackson’s family, not the Kennedys, constitutes American Royalty. If they miss The Daily Show, they can always get their news on YouTube. On TV and in films, the ditzy dumb blonde female generally has been replaced by a couple of dumb and dumber males.
The complete list can be accessed here.