The College class of 2018, starting their first year on campus this fall, arrives with a grasp of their surroundings quite distinct from that of their mentors. Born in 1996, they have always had The Daily Show to set them straight, always been able to secure immediate approval and endorsement for their ideas through “likes” on their Facebook page, and have rarely heard the term “bi-partisan agreement.”
Each August since 1998, Beloit College in Beloit, Wis., has released the Beloit College Mindset List, providing a look at the cultural touchstones and experiences that have shaped the worldview of students entering colleges and universities in the fall.
Behind the light humor of the Mindset List there are always some serious issues about the future of the class and their role in the future of the nation. The digital technology that affords them privacy from their parents, robs them of their privacy amid the “big data” of the NSA and Google. How will the absence of instant on-line approval impact their performance in the classroom and work place? Will this generation continue to seek reliance on prescription medications to address challenges and adjust reality?
Between the medications and the social media this generation is able to do what, once upon a time, only celebrities could do: advertise their self-designed personalities. Will that keep them from ever finding their authentic selves, or will they go through life with a “virtual” identity.
The Mindset List is assembled each year by Ron Nief and Tom McBride at Beloit College. It was initially created as a reminder to faculty to be wary of dated references and quickly became a catalog of the rapidly changing perception of each new generation as they make an important transition. It is requested by thousands of readers, reprinted in hundreds of print and electronic publications internationally, and used for a wide variety of purposes. It has caught the imagination of the public and draws responses from around the world and a million visitors to the website each year.
For the class of 2018, among those who have never been alive in their lifetime are Tupac Shakur, JonBenet Ramsey, Carl Sagan, and Tiny Tim.
Highlights from this year's mindset list:
1. During their initial weeks of kindergarten, they were upset by endlessly repeated images of planes blasting into the World Trade Center.
2. Since they binge-watch their favorite TV shows, they might like to binge-watch the video portions of their courses too.
3. Meds have always been an option.
5. "Press pound" on the phone is now translated as "hit hashtag."
6. Celebrity "selfies" are far cooler than autographs.
7. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart has always been the only news program that really "gets it right."
10. They never sat glued to Saturday morning cartoon shows but have been hooked on FOX's Sunday night "Animation Domination."
11. The water cooler is no longer the workplace social center; it's the place to fill your water bottle.
13. Women have always attended the Virginia Military Institute and the Citadel.
14. FOX News and MSNBC have always been duking it out for the hearts and minds of American viewers.
16. Hong Kong has always been part of China.
17. Courts have always been overturning bans on same-sex marriages.
18. Joe Camel has never introduced one of them to smoking.
20. Citizens have always had a constitutional right to a "dignified and humane death."
26. Hell has always been associated less with torment and more with nothingness.
30. There has always been “TV” designed to be watched exclusively on the web.
38. Attending schools outside their neighborhoods, they gather with friends on Skype, not in their local park.
46. They have probably never used Netscape as their web browser.
53. “Good feedback” means getting 30 likes on your last Facebook post in a single afternoon.
To view the entire list of 55 items, click here.
Source: Beloit College
Copyright© 2014 Beloit College
Mindset List is a registered trademark
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