Wednesday, August 19, 2009

College, 2013

I'm working on a series of posts about college in 2025 - which just happens to be the year my grandson will begin his higher education experience. As I was finalizing it, the annual list from Beloit College has just been published. It's a perfect set-up for what's coming, so here it is in its entirety.

Each August since 1998, Beloit College has released the Beloit College Mindset List. It provides a look at the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students entering college. It is the creation of Beloit’s Keefer Professor of the Humanities Tom McBride and Emeritus Public Affairs Director Ron Nief. It is used around the world as the school year begins, as a reminder of the rapidly changing frame of reference for this new generation. It is widely reprinted and the Mindset List website at receives more than 300,000 hits annually.

As millions of students head off to college this fall, most will continue to experience the economic anxiety that marked their first two years of life just as it has marked their last two years of high school. Fears of the middle class--including their parents--about retirement and health care have been a part of their lives. Now however, they can turn to technology and text a friend: "Momdad still worried bout stocks. urs 2? PAW PCM".

Members of the class of 2013 won't be surprised when they can charge a latté on their cell phone and curl up in the corner to read a textbook on an electronic screen. The migration of once independent media—radio, TV, videos and CDs—to the computer has never amazed them. They have grown up in a politically correct universe in which multi-culturalism has been a given. It is a world organized around globalization, with McDonald's everywhere on the planet. Carter and Reagan are as distant to them as Truman and Eisenhower were to their parents. Tattoos, once thought "lower class," are, to them, quite chic. Everybody knows the news before the evening news comes on.

Thus the class of 2013 heads off to college as tolerant, global, and technologically hip…and with another new host of The Tonight Show.

The Beloit College Mindset List for the
Class of 2013
  • Most students entering college for the first time this fall were
    born in 1991.For these students, Martha Graham, Pan American Airways, Michael
    Landon, Dr. Seuss, Miles Davis, The Dallas Times Herald, Gene
    Roddenberry, and Freddie Mercury have always been dead.
  • Dan Rostenkowski, Jack Kevorkian, and Mike Tyson have always
    been felons.
  • The Green Giant has always been Shrek, not the big guy picking
  • They have never used a card catalog to find a book.
  • Margaret Thatcher has always been a former prime minister.
  • Salsa has always outsold ketchup.
  • Earvin "Magic" Johnson has always been HIV-positive.
  • Tattoos have always been very chic and highly visible.
  • They have been preparing for the arrival of HDTV all their
  • Rap music has always been main stream.
  • Chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream has always been a flavor
  • Someone has always been building something taller than the
    Willis (née Sears) Tower in Chicago.
  • The KGB has never officially existed.
  • Text has always been hyper.
  • They never saw the “Scud Stud” (but there have always been
    electromagnetic stud finders.)
  • Babies have always had a Social Security Number.
  • They have never had to “shake down” an oral thermometer.
  • Bungee jumping has always been socially acceptable.
  • They have never understood the meaning of R.S.V.P.
  • American students have always lived anxiously with high-stakes
    educational testing.
  • Except for the present incumbent, the President has never
  • State abbreviations in addresses have never had periods.
  • The European Union has always existed.
  • McDonald's has always been serving Happy Meals in China.
  • Condoms have always been advertised on television.
  • Cable television systems have always offered telephone service
    and vice versa.
  • Christopher Columbus has always been getting a bad rap.
  • The American health care system has always been in critical
  • Bobby Cox has always managed the Atlanta Braves.
  • Desperate smokers have always been able to turn to Nicoderm skin
  • There has always been a Cartoon Network.
  • The nation’s key economic indicator has always been the Gross
    Domestic Product (GDP).
  • Their folks could always reach for a Zoloft.
  • They have always been able to read books on an electronic
  • Women have always outnumbered men in college.
  • We have always watched wars, coups, and police arrests unfold on
    television in real time.
  • Amateur radio operators have never needed to know Morse code.
  • Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Latvia, Georgia,
    Lithuania, and Estonia
  • have always been independent nations.
  • It's always been official: President Zachary Taylor did not die
    of arsenic poisoning.
  • Madonna’s perspective on Sex has always been well documented.
  • Phil Jackson has always been coaching championship basketball.
  • Ozzy Osbourne has always been coming back.
  • Kevin Costner has always been Dancing with Wolves, especially on
  • There have always been flat screen televisions.
  • They have always eaten Berry Berry Kix.
  • Disney’s Fantasia has always been available on video, and It’s a
    Wonderful Life has always been on Moscow television.
  • Smokers have never been promoted as an economic force that
    deserves respect.
  • Elite American colleges have never been able to fix the price of
  • Nobody has been able to make a deposit in the Bank of Credit and
    Commerce International (BCCI).
  • Everyone has always known what the evening news was before the
    Evening News came on.
  • Britney Spears has always been heard on classic rock stations.
  • They have never been Saved by the Bell
  • Someone has always been asking: “Was Iraq worth a war?”
  • Most communities have always had a mega-church.
  • Natalie Cole has always been singing with her father.
  • The status of gays in the military has always been a topic of
    political debate.
  • Elizabeth Taylor has always reeked of White Diamonds.
  • There has always been a Planet Hollywood.
  • For one reason or another, California’s future has always been
    in doubt.
  • Agent Starling has always feared the Silence of the Lambs.
  • “Womyn” and “waitperson” have always been in the dictionary.
  • Members of Congress have always had to keep their checkbooks
    balanced since the closingof the House Bank.
  • There has always been a computer in the Oval Office.
  • CDs have never been sold in cardboard packaging.
  • Avon has always been “calling” in a catalog.
  • NATO has always been looking for a role.
  • Two Koreas have always been members of the UN.
  • Official racial classifications in South Africa have always been
  • The NBC Today Show has always been seen on weekends.
  • Vice presidents of the United States have always had real power.
  • Conflict in Northern Ireland has always been slowly winding
  • Migration of once independent media like radio, TV, videos and
    compact discs to the computer has never amazed them.
  • Nobody has ever responded to “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get
  • Congress could never give itself a mid-term raise.
  • There has always been blue Jell-O.

Copyright © Beloit College

Yeah, I'm feeling a little old...

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