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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Peek Into the Mind of the Average College Freshman

**Apparently the link to this article will expire soon, and it will only be available to paid subscribers after that. I hope that by posting the title of the publication and the author's name I won't get into any trouble. I'm only sharing this because it's fascinating. If I am asked by The Chronicle of Higher Education to take it down, I will oblige. Probably.**

The Chronicle of Higher EducationTuesday, August 19, 2008

A Peek Into the Mind of the Average College Freshman


Yes, professor, you really are getting old. Just take a look at the members of this year's freshman class.

Assuming the students in that class were born in 1990, they would have been conceived about the same time as the World Wide Web, taken their first steps as Clarence Thomas took the Supreme Court oath, and had their entire lives to angle for a gig with Teach for America. And the Warsaw Pact— what's that?

Each August, Beloit College publishes its Mind-Set List to help professors and administrators understand the average incoming freshman's frame of reference by describing how things have "always been," or at least how they've been for the past 18 years.

The two men who compile the list—Tom McBride, a professor of English, and Ron Nief, director of public affairs—note that while many things have changed since the Class of 2012 was born, some things seem remarkably similar to the world as it was in 1990: "Rising fuel costs were causing airlines to cut staff and flight schedules; Big 3 car companies were facing declining sales and profits; and a president named Bush was increasing the number of troops in the Middle East in the hopes of securing peace."

The Beloit College Mind-Set List

For these students, Sammy Davis Jr., Jim Henson, Ryan White, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Freddy Krueger have always been dead.

1. Harry Potter could be a classmate, playing on their Quidditch team.

2. Since they were in diapers, karaoke machines have been annoying people at parties.

3. They have always been looking for Carmen Sandiego.

4. GPS satellite navigation systems have always been available.

5. Coke and Pepsi have always used recycled plastic bottles.

6. Shampoo and conditioner have always been available in the same bottle.

7. Gas stations have never fixed flats, but most serve cappuccino.

8. The students' parents may have dropped them in shock when they heard George Bush announce "tax-revenue increases."

9. Electronic filing of tax returns has always been an option.

10. Girls in head scarves have always been part of the school fashion scene.

11. All have had a relative—or known about a friend's relative—who died comfortably at home with hospice.

12. As a precursor to "whatever," they have recognized that some people "just don't get it."

13. Universal Studios has always offered an alternative to Mickey in Orlando, Fla.

14. Grandma has always had wheels on her walker.

15. Martha Stewart Living has always been setting the style.

16. Häagen-Dazs ice cream has always come in quarts.

17. Club Med resorts have always been places to take the whole family.

18. WWW has never stood for World Wide Wrestling.

19. Films have never been X rated, only NC-17.

20. The Warsaw Pact is as hazy for them as the League of Nations was for their parents.

21. Students have always been "Rocking the Vote."

22. Clarence Thomas has always sat on the Supreme Court.

23. Schools have always been concerned about multiculturalism.

24. We have always known that "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten."

25. There have always been gay rabbis.

26. Wayne Newton has never had a mustache.

27. College grads have always been able to Teach for America.

28. IBM has never made typewriters.

29. Roseanne Barr has never been invited to sing the national anthem again.

30. McDonald's and Burger King have always used vegetable oil for cooking french fries.

31. The students have never been able to color a tree using a raw-umber Crayola.

32. There has always been Pearl Jam.

33. The Tonight Show has always had Jay Leno as its host and started at 11:35 p.m. Eastern time.

34. Pee-wee has never been in his playhouse during the day.

35. They never tasted Benefit cereal with psyllium.

36. They may have been given a Nintendo Game Boy to play with in the crib.

37. Authorities have always been building a wall along the Mexican border.

38. Lenin's name has never been on a major city in Russia.

39. Employers have always been able to do credit checks on employees.

40. Balsamic vinegar has always been available in the United States.

41. Macaulay Culkin has always been Home Alone.

42. The students' parents may have watched American Gladiators on TV the day they were born.

43. Personal privacy has always been threatened.

44. Caller ID has always been available on phones.

45. Living wills have always been asked for at hospital check-ins.

46. The Green Bay Packers (almost) always had the same starting quarterback.

47. The students have never heard a gasoline-station attendant ask, "Want me to check under the hood?"

48. Iced tea has always come in cans and bottles.

49. Soft-drink refills have always been free.

50. The students have never known life without Seinfeld references from a show about "nothing."

51. Windows operating systems have always made IBM PC's user-friendly.

52. Muscovites have always been able to buy Big Macs.

53. The Royal New Zealand Navy has never been permitted a daily ration of rum.

54. The Hubble Space Telescope has always been eavesdropping on the heavens.

55. 98.6 degrees F, or otherwise, has always been confirmed in the ear.

56. Michael Milken has always been a philanthropist promoting prostate-cancer research.

57. Off-shore oil drilling in U.S. waters has always been prohibited.

58. Radio stations have never been required to present both sides of public issues.

59. There have always been charter schools.

60. Students always had Goosebumps.


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