Beloit College in Wisconsin has made a name for itself with its “Mindset List.”
That is an annual compendium remarking on the way incoming freshman think and view themselves and their world. It’s a catalog of the cultural touchpoints familiar to them – from sports to politics to entertainment and other fields. Mostly, it provides their general frame of reference for the rest of the (i.e., older) people who will be dealing with them.
Imagine these people in the chair opposite you in your office or on a jury.
The students entering college this fall are the Class of 2020 (Likely slogan, likely to be way overused: “The class of perfect vision”).
They were born in 1998. Yes, soon college freshmen all will be from this millennium. Time marches forward.
Beloit’s Mindset team has its own website that states that members of the Class of ’20 “cannot remember a time when they had to wait for anything. They also can’t recall a time when the United States was not at war, or when someone named Bush or Clinton was not running for office.”
Tom McBride, one of the list’s authors, said of this group, “They know that they’re going to have to wait for that first breakthrough job and getting their school loans paid off.”
He added, “They’re an impatient generation learning how to be patient.”
Check out the site, www.beloit.edu/ mindset, for the full set of 60 markers that distinguish the incoming freshmen. Here’s a selection of 20 of the highlights:
- There has always been a digital swap meet called eBay.
- They never heard Harry Caray try to sing during the seventh inning at Wrigley Field.
- Vladimir Putin has always been calling the shots at the Kremlin.
- The Sandy Hook tragedy is their Columbine.
- Euros have always been the coin of the realm…well, at least part of the realm.
- SpongeBob SquarePants has always lived at Bikini Bottom.
- They have never had to watch or listen to programs at a scheduled time.
- If you want to reach them, you’d better send a text – emails are oft ignored.
- They disagree with their parents as to which was the “first” Star Wars episode.
- “Nanny cams” have always been available to check up on the babysitter.
- NFL coaches have always had the opportunity to throw a red flag and question the ref.
- Books have always been read to you on audible.com.
- Citizens have always been able to register to vote when they get their driver’s license.
- Exxon and Mobil have been one company—and it doesn’t own any gas stations.
- Snowboarding has always been an Olympic sport.
- Students have always questioned where and by whom their sweatshirts are made.
- John Elway and Wayne Gretzky have always been retired.
- They have never seen billboard ads for cigarettes.
- Airline tickets have always been purchased online.
- There have always been iMacs on desks.
The Mindset List, which is copyrighted by Beloit, first appeared in 1998.
So you can bet that here’s a gimme this time next year: The Class of 2021 has never known a world in which Beloit has not published the Mindset List.
— Paul Fletcher