If you've never seen the "College Freshman Mindset List" put out by Beloit College, it is very entertaining. Most students entering college for the first time in just a few weeks were born in the year 1991. Two Beloit professors have put out this annual list since 1998, as a cultural touchstone of just how quickly frames of reference change from generation to generation.
A quote from the MSNBC article: "This is not scientific research we're doing here, and some of the most important research you get is the blank stare," said Ron Nief, emeritus public affairs director and one of the co-creators of the list. "My favorite one, when you say 'Here's Johnny,' and they didn't know who Johnny Carson was."
For these incoming college freshman, (which includes my stepdaughter Paige), many of the following are a reality:
- They have never used a card catalog to find a book.
- They have never had to "shake down" an oral thermometer.
- Miles Davis, Michael Landon, Dr. Seuss, Gene Roddenberry and Freddie Mercury have always been dead.
- Mike Tyson has always been a felon.
- Tattoos have always been very chic and highly visible.
- Bobby Cox has always managed the Atlanta Braves, and Phil Jackson has always been coaching championship basketball. (I personally have no idea about these, just wanted to include them for my husband, my BILs and any other sports fans who might read my blog.)
- Ozzy Osborne has always been coming back.
- Keving Costner has always been Dancing with Wolves, especially on cable.
- Everyone has always known what the evening news was before the Evening News came on.
- There has always been a computer in the Oval Office.
- Earvin "Magic" Johnson has always been HIV-positive.
- They have never understood the meaning of R.S.V.P. (caveat: I would argue that this is not the case for all college freshman (including Paige!); only those who have not been well-raised by their parents!)
- Smokers have never been promoted as an economic force that deserves respect. (I don't remember that, either, but I know it was the case when I was younger... But not in the last several years, for certain!)
- We have always watched wars, coups and police arrests unfold on television in real time.
- The Green Giant has always been Shrek, not the big guy picking vegetables.
Check out the article here, and it will give you a link to the full list of 75 items. Some of those are unbelievable, to think that this is the only reality these 18-year-olds have ever known. Is anyone besides me feelin' darn OLD!? The times, they ARE a-changin'.
Two of my faves were the one about the Green Giant/Shrek (remember the TV jingle? "Ho ho ho, Green Giant"), and the one about Freddie Mercury, et al. It reminded me of my youngest brother (age 22) this summer, when he had just heard Queen and Freddie Mercury for the first time, and thought that the classic music was "so cool".