Each fall, I enjoy checking out The Mindset List from Beloit College – you know, the thing that makes you realize just how freaking old you are by telling you all the things college freshman consider ancient history? Yeah, that. So now that I think about it, “enjoy” may not be an appropriate word. Regardless, it is pretty interesting. And frightening.
Let’s start with this little fact – this year’s entering college freshman were born in 1994. Had MTV been less Pedro/Puck and more Farrah/Janelle at the time and I had been striving to be on 16 & Pregnant, I could theoretically be their mom.
Frankly, that’s enough for me. I don’t need to read the rest of the list.
But… let me throw a couple more things out there.
#4 – Michael Jackson’s family, not the Kennedys, constitutes “American Royalty.” Now, I am not old enough to remember the Kennedy dynasty (just the tragic deaths of the subsequent generations) but the Jacksons? For real?
#8 – Bill Clinton is a senior statesman of whose presidency they have little knowledge. Just imagine the comedy they’ve missed!
#20 – Exposed bra straps have always been a fashion statement, not a wardrobe malfunction to be corrected quietly by well-meaning friends. #20.5 – the term “wardrobe malfunction” is not new-fangled.
#25 – They have lived in an era of instant stardom and self-proclaimed celebrities, famous for being famous. See also: The Real World and Teen Mom references above.
#34 – Billy Graham is as familiar to them as Otto Graham was to their parents. Otto who?
#71 – Despite being preferred urban gathering places, two-thirds of the independent bookstores in the United States have closed for good during their lifetimes. Oh, my heart.
But, there are some good things, too.
#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.
Maybe the last 18 years haven’t been in vain after all.
I wonder what the Beloit list will look like when Kate and Joshua enter college. That’ll be the 2026 List.