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Beloit College Mindset List

Beloit College has posted its Mindset List for the Class of 2012:

The class of 2012 has grown up in an era where computers and rapid communication are the norm, and colleges no longer trumpet the fact that residence halls are “wired” and equipped with the latest hardware. These students will hardly recognize the availability of telephones in their rooms since they have seldom utilized landlines during their adolescence. They will continue to live on their cell phones and communicate via texting. Roommates, few of whom have ever shared a bedroom, have already checked out each other on Facebook where they have shared their most personal thoughts with the whole world.

I've been reading these since they posted the first one for the Class of 2002, and I'm always amazed at what cultural touchstones students are either missing or consider to be as if they had always been with us. One of my most vivid memories was asking one of my high school students about this item on the Class of 2002 list:

28. "The Tonight Show" has always been with Jay Leno.

She agreed. I asked her if she knew who Johnny Carson was, and she looked into the distance and said that while her generation knew he had been the host of "The Tonight Show," they never really thought about it.

I'd like to see the Class of 2002's reaction to the list for the Class of 2012...


Partially, Beloit does this in an attempt to keep their professors from losing cultural connections and context with the students.

To date, without exception, it just makes me feel old, not out of touch.
I just came across a post I did about this very subject, maybe 3-4 years ago. One of the responders was a recent college grad, so yeah, pretty close to the Class of 2002.

Her take, in so many words?
Utter rubbish.

I think she was offput by how dense the Survey thought her generation was, how it underestimated their general curiosity about things before their time and, most damning, how it failed to account for the very "wired" part of their generational culture, in assuming they wouldn't get references to things they'd been seeing on Nick at Nite since they were two years old.

Now, when I see these annual lists, I don't even look anymore. Just another sign that summer is over and I'm a year older.
I feel so old...
I wish we could have had the wiring today's students have. What a difference that would have made. Most of us didn't have computers and if we worked late on something we had to stay in a computer lab somewhere and walk home late.

I'm still freaked out that yesterday my just-turned-five-years-old daughter announced, "That's ok, I can always edit it, and if I still don't like it, I'll just delete it."

When I was five, I doubt I knew the meaning of "edit", and I certainly didn't know "delete."
I try to be careful how I post my LJ entries so as not to leave the younger crowd that's reading it in a historical fog. As you've probably noticed, I also try to add some history notes on things which might not be familiar to them but still might be of some importance to them.

It is a bit disconcerting when you get blank stares back when asking about historical items that are almost second nature to you. Especially the things you find still relevant and important in understanding current affairs.

December 2016

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