We’ve always heard from our parents about those “good ol’ days,” and how we just don’t understand how it “used to be.” Beloit College, a small Wisconsin school of about 1,250 students, puts together a list called the “Mindset List,” which attempts to understand how today’s youth thinks.
It was originally intended to act as a guidebook for the obviously much older faculty to avoid cultural references that their students may not understand when it was first introduced in 1998. Since then, it has become an interesting look at the changing dynamics of today’s society.
It’s clear that today’s college students live in a world that is much different than what we may have. A digital life is commonplace for them — the computer is likely the reason why they don’t know how to write in cursive, and their cell phone has relegated the wristwatch into fashion history. They’ve always known cable to have hundreds of channels — but like those early days, there’s never anything on.
As texting has taken over, e-mail has become too slow for them. Wired telephones are something you find in museums — they’re talking on their iPhones and BlackBerries. It’s probably pretty likely they have no idea what a floppy disk is: after all, the CD-ROM has been a standard feature in probably every computer they’ve used.
Beloit’s list isn’t only about technology — it goes further than that to talk of other things these kids may think Nirvana is only played on a classic rock station (am I really that old?) or that they think Fergie is more fergalicious than a estranged member of the British Royal Family.
Either way I’ve had fun reading these for sure. I started college in 1997, so these don’t go as far back as for me, but 1998’s list seemed pretty accurate to what I was thinking. Ah, to have my youth back.