Every year, a survey of incoming freshman is taken at Beloit College in Beloit, Wis., called the Mindset List. It gives a picture of the incoming class and how it views the world.
For this year, students were generally born in 1994. To them, Curt Cobain has always been dead. They have never seen an actual airplane ticket or seen people actually carrying suitcases through the airport rather than rolling them. And they don’t listen to radio—we’re talking AM/FM.
Here’s part of the the Mindset List for this year. Note number 15 on the list, which states, “Having grown up with MP3s and iPods, they never listen to music on the car radio and really have no use for radio at all.”
The Mindset List for the Class of 2016
1. They should keep their eyes open for Justin Bieber or Dakota Fanning at freshman orientation.
2. They have always lived in cyberspace, addicted to a new generation of “electronic narcotics.”
3. 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.
4. Michael Jackson’s family, not the Kennedys, constitutes “American royalty.”
5. If they miss The Daily Show, they can always get their news on YouTube.
6. Their lives have been measured in the fundamental particles of life: bits, bytes, and bauds.
7. Robert De Niro is thought of as Greg Focker’s long-suffering father-in-law, not as Vito Corleone or Jimmy Conway.
8. Bill Clinton is a senior statesman of whose presidency they have little knowledge.
9. They have never seen an airplane “ticket.”
10. On TV and in films, the ditzy dumb blonde female generally has been replaced by a couple of dumb and dumber males.
11. The paradox “too big to fail” has been for their generation what “we had to destroy the village in order to save it” was for their grandparents.
12. For most of their lives, maintaining relations between the U.S. and the rest of the world has been a woman’s job in the State Department.
13. They can’t picture people actually carrying luggage through airports rather than rolling it.
14. There has always been football in Jacksonville but never in Los Angeles.
15. Having grown up with MP3s and iPods, they never listen to music on the car radio and really have no use for radio at all.
16. Since they’ve been born, the United States has measured progress by a 2 percentage point jump in unemployment and a 16-cent rise in the price of a first-class postage stamp.
17. Benjamin Braddock, having given up both a career in plastics and a relationship with Mrs. Robinson, could be their grandfather.
18. Their folks have never gazed with pride on a new set of bound encyclopedias on the bookshelf.
19. The Green Bay Packers have always celebrated with the Lambeau Leap.
20. Exposed bra straps have always been a fashion statement, not a wardrobe malfunction to be corrected quietly by well-meaning friends.
21. A significant percentage of them will enter college already displaying some hearing loss.
22. The Real World has always “stopped being polite and started getting real” on MTV.
23. Women have always piloted war planes and space shuttles.