In My Opinion
Warning: This Post May Make You Feel Old!
Ready to feel old?
The class of 2016, this year’s incoming college freshmen, can’t picture a suitcase that doesn’t roll or a tan M&M’s candy. Born in 1994, their toy boxes surely included at least one Furby, and they have little knowledge of Bill Clinton’s presidency. Los Angeles has never had a football team, and The Real World has always stopped being polite and started getting real on MTV.
Kurt Cobain, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Richard Nixon all died the year this generation of entering college students was born.
This is according to the just-released Beloit College Mindset List, an annual look at the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students entering college each fall. What began in 1998 as a reminder to faculty to avoid dated references , the Mindset List has become a fascinating catalog of what today’s freshmen know and don’t know, illustrating the changing world view of each new college generation.
Below are some noteworthy observations from the Mindset List for the Class of 2016:
- They should keep their eyes open for Justin Bieber or Dakota Fanning at freshman orientation.
- If they miss The Daily Show, they can always get their news on YouTube.
- Robert De Niro is thought of as Greg Focker's long-suffering father-in-law, not as Vito Corleone or Jimmy Conway.
- 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.
- Exposed bra straps have always been a fashion statement, not a wardrobe malfunction to be corrected quietly by well-meaning friends.
- A significant percentage of them will enter college already displaying some hearing loss.
- Women have always piloted war planes and space shuttles.
- Outdated icons with images of floppy discs for “save,” a telephone for “phone,” and a snail mail envelope for “mail” have oddly decorated their tablets and smart phone screens.
- Probably the most tribal generation in history, they despise being separated from contact with their similar-aged friends.
- L.L. Bean hunting shoes have always been known as just plain Bean Boots.
- They have always been able to see Starz on Direct TV.
- Ice skating competitions have always been jumping matches.
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome has always been officially recognized with clinical guidelines.