Wednesday, August 19, 2009

College mindset from Beloit...

I read this year's list from Beloit College on the "mindset" of the "average college freshman" since we have one (a child entering college.) I found it a little surprising. Maybe we've done a good job (or at least better than "average") with our progeny...

Most students entering college for the first time this fall were born in 1991. (true. someone can do higher math... )

  1. 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. (since they live on in their art... are they really "dead"?)
  2. Dan Rostenkowski, Jack Kevorkian, and Mike Tyson have always been felons. (and that's no great loss.)
  3. The Green Giant has always been Shrek, not the big guy picking vegetables. (um. FAIL.)
  4. They have never used a card catalog to find a book. (again - FAIL.)
  5. Margaret Thatcher has always been a former prime minister. (so?)
  6. Salsa has always outsold ketchup. (depends on the household, I guess.)
  7. Earvin "Magic" Johnson has always been HIV-positive. (since I worked with an AIDS ministry in the 90s, it really was never a big wow factor.)
  8. Tattoos have always been very chic and highly visible. (chic? a matter of opinion. highly visible? not particularly.)
  9. They have been preparing for the arrival of HDTV all their lives. (and... so?)
  10. Rap music has always been main stream. (not in our house.)
  11. Chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream has always been a flavor choice. (aha! Finally something worthwhile on this list.)
  12. Someone has always been building something taller than the Willis (née Sears) Tower in Chicago. (OK, but not something we lose sleep over.)
  13. The KGB has never officially existed. (unless you watch old movies!)
  14. Text has always been hyper. (still use a lot of the print stuff around here.)
  15. They never saw the “Scud Stud” (but there have always been electromagnetic stud finders.) (no clue.)
  16. Babies have always had a Social Security Number. (OK)
  17. They have never had to “shake down” an oral thermometer. (Fail.)
  18. Bungee jumping has always been socially acceptable. (possible vs. acceptable.)
  19. They have never understood the meaning of R.S.V.P. (FAIL.)
  20. American students have always lived anxiously with high-stakes educational testing. (another education establishment experiment...)
  21. Except for the present incumbent, the President has never inhaled. (this is newsworthy why?)
  22. State abbreviations in addresses have never had periods. (apparently other 18 year olds have not written formal papers.)
  23. The European Union has always existed. (whoopee.)
  24. McDonald's has always been serving Happy Meals in China. (again. whoopee.)
  25. Condoms have always been advertised on television. (mission critical?)
  26. Cable television systems have always offered telephone service and vice versa. (really? no clue.)
  27. Christopher Columbus has always been getting a bad rap. (laughter...)
  28. The American health care system has always been in critical condition. (depends on the hospital/provider.)
  29. Bobby Cox has always managed the Atlanta Braves. (um. Where is Beloit? in Georgia? eh.)
  30. Desperate smokers have always been able to turn to Nicoderm skin patches. (another good reason not to start!)
  31. There has always been a Cartoon Network. (only if you have "always" had cable.)
  32. The nation’s key economic indicator has always been the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). (news to me.)
  33. Their folks could always reach for a Zoloft. (but we don't.)
  34. They have always been able to read books on an electronic screen. (this assumes that "books" have been available on PCs since the early 90s? in whose home?)
  35. Women have always outnumbered men in college. (whatever.)
  36. We have always watched wars, coups, and police arrests unfold on television in real time. (again. do other people not turn off their TVs?)
  37. Amateur radio operators have never needed to know Morse code. (again a little known fact)
  38. Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Latvia, Georgia, Lithuania, and Estonia have always been independent nations. (cool.)
  39. It's always been official: President Zachary Taylor did not die of arsenic poisoning. (I never knew he had/hadn't.)
  40. Madonna’s perspective on Sex has always been well documented. (If one actually cares...)
  41. Phil Jackson has always been coaching championship basketball. (No clue who that is either.)
  42. Ozzy Osbourne has always been coming back. (with fewer brain cells each time.)
  43. Kevin Costner has always been Dancing with Wolves, especially on cable. (good idea.)
  44. There have always been flat screen televisions. (really? guess we are still on our "old" non-flat one.)
  45. They have always eaten Berry Berry Kix. (ew. unlikely.)
  46. Disney’s Fantasia has always been available on video, and It’s a Wonderful Life has always been on Moscow television. (Yes on the first - no clue on the second.)
  47. Smokers have never been promoted as an economic force that deserves respect. (HALLELUJAH!)
  48. Elite American colleges have never been able to fix the price of tuition. (And the pedestrian, state colleges haven't been able to, either.)
  49. Nobody has been able to make a deposit in the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI). (never heard of it.)
  50. Everyone has always known what the evening news was before the Evening News came on. (who watches the news today?)
  51. Britney Spears has always been heard on classic rock stations. (again... there are other stations.)
  52. They have never been Saved by the Bell (we never did watch that show either.)
  53. Someone has always been asking: “Was Iraq worth a war?” (good question!)
  54. Most communities have always had a mega-church. (I am not sure if this is good or bad.)
  55. Natalie Cole has always been singing with her father. (OK.)
  56. The status of gays in the military has always been a topic of political debate. (good!)
  57. Elizabeth Taylor has always reeked of White Diamonds. (reek is an excellent way to say it.)
  58. There has always been a Planet Hollywood. (again - unimportant.)
  59. For one reason or another, California’s future has always been in doubt. (I should care about this, I guess.)
  60. Agent Starling has always feared the Silence of the Lambs. (how many 18 year olds actually have watched that movie?)
  61. “Womyn” and “waitperson” have always been in the dictionary. (LOL...)
  62. Members of Congress have always had to keep their checkbooks balanced since the closing of the House Bank. (GOOD!)
  63. There has always been a computer in the Oval Office. (good to know.)
  64. CDs have never been sold in cardboard packaging. (there is a reason for that.)
  65. Avon has always been “calling” in a catalog. (and got a busy signal...)
  66. NATO has always been looking for a role. (good one.)
  67. Two Koreas have always been members of the UN. (probably wise.)
  68. Official racial classifications in South Africa have always been outlawed. (HALLELUJAH!)
  69. The NBC Today Show has always been seen on weekends. (assuming anyone watches it...)
  70. Vice presidents of the United States have always had real power. (LOL...)
  71. Conflict in Northern Ireland has always been slowly winding down. (Depends on where you live, I guess.)
  72. Migration of once independent media like radio, TV, videos and compact discs to the computer has never amazed them. (me neither.)
  73. Nobody has ever responded to “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.” (this is significant, why?)
  74. Congress could never give itself a mid-term raise. (GOOD!)
  75. There has always been blue Jell-O. (not in my house.)
I guess either because I have the perspective of being an 18-year-old's parent, or because we have tried pretty hard not to be mainstream parents, that I find this list rather anti-climatic.

And so it goes..



Tricia said...

I suspect they write these lists for the faculty, as a reminder that "kids these days don't have the same cultural touch stones that you do." They're not saying that any particular item is good or bad, or that every single incoming student has deep personal experience with each item. I'm merely lowly staff at the university where I work, but reading this jolted me awake to the fact that these kids were born after I moved here for grad school. Yikes, how'd *I* get so old?? (And how did I end up in one place for so long?? That's the real mystery, given the number of moves in the first half of my life!)

p.s. Beloit is in Wisconsin - or maybe you knew that and the Georgia reference went over my head. I suspect they mention Bobby Cox because he is the longest serving manager in MLB.

Sophia said...

This is useful, Deb, as I will be teaching four classes of first years starting a week from today....And poignant, as I too should have an 18 year old daughter beginning college.

Deb said...

Yeah, I know this is a mainstream list. I guess I am counter-cultural enough that Bobby Cox is just a big "so what"? As in... there's more to life than baseball and Madonna's sex life.

But as I said - that's just me.