Summer is almost over and students are getting in the back-to-school routine. Incoming college freshmen, the Class of 2016, are moving into their dorms, getting ready for classes, and entering college with a very different mindset than previous generations. Each year, Beloit College in Wisconsin compiles a list they call the “Mindset List” to give a snapshot at how the incoming freshmen view the world. For anyone no longer in college and born before 1994, this list is sure to make you feel old.
The Class of 2016 has never lived in a world where Kurt Cobain was alive. They have no need for radios. And they watch television basically everywhere except on the actual TV.
15. Having grown up with MP3s and iPods, they never listen to music on the car radio and really have no use for radio at all.
68. They watch television everywhere but on a television.
Working in social media and with technology on a daily basis, it’s interesting to see how many items on the list are about how this class’ lives are so technologically ingrained. The list says they are addicted to “electronic narcotics.” And for everyone who logs onto Facebook or Twitter daily, we all know that “addiction” isn’t such a far off word to use.
2. They have always lived in cyberspace, addicted to a new generation of “electronic narcotics.”
5. If they miss The Daily Show, they can always get their news on YouTube.
27. Outdated icons with images of floppy discs for “save,” a telephone for “phone,” and a snail-mail envelope for “mail” have oddly decorated their tablets and smartphone screens.
35. Probably the most tribal generation in history, they despise being separated from contact with their similar-aged friends.
Some of the things on the list are slightly troubling, at least to a movie buff such as myself (really, guys, watch The Godfather).
7. Robert De Niro is thought of as Greg Focker’s long-suffering father-in-law, not as Vito Corleone or Jimmy Conway.
But there are many items on the list that show the progressive viewpoints of future generations and just how much the minds of young people in America are changing. This incoming freshman class is familiar with seeing women in positions of power and grew up at a time when Madeline Albright was serving as the first female U.S. secretary of state. They are a more tolerant class, growing up in a time when race issues are practically a thing of the past and marriage equality issues are at the forefront of their consciousness.
12. 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.
23. Women have always piloted war planes and space shuttles.
24. White House security has never felt it necessary to wear rubber gloves when gay groups have visited.
38. Slavery has always been unconstitutional in Mississippi, and Southern Baptists have always been apologizing for supporting it in the first place.
While some things on this list might make me feel a little old, it’s refreshing to see that viewpoints are shifting and that the mindset of young Americans is changing, for the better.