Wednesday, September 12, 2012

2016 Mindset List: Cultural Touchstones Of Kids Entering College This Year

From Beloit College

"Each August since 1998, Beloit College has released the Beloit College Mindset List, providing a look at the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students entering college this fall. The list was originally created as a reminder to faculty to be aware of dated references, but quickly became an internationally monitored catalog of the changing worldview of each new college generation."

The Mindset List for the Class of 2016

For this generation of entering college students, born in 1994, Kurt Cobain, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Richard Nixon and John Wayne Gacy have always been dead.

They have always lived in cyberspace, addicted to a new generation of “electronic narcotics.”

The Biblical sources of terms such as “Forbidden Fruit,” “The writing on the wall,” “Good Samaritan,” and “The Promised Land” are unknown to most of them.

If they miss The Daily Show, they can always get their news on YouTube.

Robert De Niro is thought of as Greg Focker's long-suffering father-in-law, not as Vito Corleone or Jimmy Conway.

Bill Clinton is a senior statesman of whose presidency they have little knowledge.

They have never seen an airplane “ticket.”

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.

They can’t picture people actually carrying luggage through airports rather than rolling it.

There has always been football in Jacksonville but never in Los Angeles.

Benjamin Braddock, having given up both a career in plastics and a relationship with Mrs. Robinson, could be their grandfather.

Their folks have never gazed with pride on a new set of bound encyclopedias on the bookshelf.

Exposed bra straps have always been a fashion statement, not a wardrobe malfunction to be corrected quietly by well-meaning friends.

A significant percentage of them will enter college already displaying some hearing loss.

Women have always piloted war planes and space shuttles.

White House security has never felt it necessary to wear rubber gloves when gay groups have visited.

They have lived in an era of instant stardom and self-proclaimed celebrities, famous for being famous.

Outdated icons with images of floppy discs for “save,” a telephone for “phone,” and a snail mail envelope for “mail” have oddly decorated their tablets and smart phone screens.

They have had to incessantly remind their parents not to refer to their CDs and DVDs as “tapes.”

Probably the most tribal generation in history, they despise being separated from contact with their similar-aged friends.

Martin Lawrence has always been banned from hosting Saturday Night Live.

The Metropolitan Opera House in New York has always translated operas on seatback screens.

Good music programmers are rock stars to the women of this generation, just as guitar players were for their mothers.

Before they purchase an assigned textbook, they will investigate whether it is available for rent or purchase as an e-book.

They grew up, somehow, without the benefits of Romper Room.

Ice skating competitions have always been jumping matches.

Mr. Burns has replaced J.R. Ewing as the most shot-at man on American television.

They know many established film stars by their voices on computer-animated blockbusters.

History has always had its own channel.

The Twilight Zone involves vampires, not Rod Serling.

They have no recollection of when Arianna Huffington was a conservative.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome has always been officially recognized with clinical guidelines.

They watch television everywhere but on a television.

Pulp Fiction’s meal of a "Royale with Cheese" and an “Amos and Andy milkshake” has little or no resonance with them.

Point-and-shoot cameras are soooooo last millennium.

Despite being preferred urban gathering places, two-thirds of the independent bookstores in the United States have closed for good during their lifetimes.

Full list here.


  1. Great list, I wonder if one day they'll replace the "phone" and "envelope" symbols with something new.

  2. My younger son was born in 1994, so I'm aware of much of this, but this list really drives it home. The other day I had to explain who Gumby was to him, which made me feel old, of course.

    I'm not sure what the heck is going on in the mugshot of the day picture today, but the caption made me laugh. :-D

  3. This is sort of right. There are changing perceptions of the role of women and also race, say, and most people also mostly know their zeitgeist. But like any list, the "average" person this all applies to is unlikely to exist.

    My nephew at 18 loves Floyd and Led Zep more than the radio drivel du jour. Certainly the stupid corporate hip hop and he can see through most rockers of today as unimaginative and/or derivative.

    There is retro cachet in vinyl and film cameras again, at least amongst the arty set. Many of them know who Ian Curtis was.

    In fact, it is uncool to many not to know something of the past, although the pop cultural limit seems to be the 80s as a rule. Although inevitably limited and with many bizarre things, like the remake of "Scarface" seen as a touchstone "classic" film, but I don't think they are quite so limited in time and space as some of this "generation gap" list implies.

  4. I turned 30 this year and I'm smack in the middle of OMG I'm Officially Old Land. The Cobain thing blew my mind, mostly because I remember someone wrote a blurb about him and his (then newborn, I guess) daughter in my 7th grade World History book. The term 'snail mail' makes my butthole pucker. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go beat the teenagers on my lawn (and their music). I'm not gonna beat them with a cane though, I need to find something very late 80's-early 90's to beat them with. A slap bracelet maybe? Maybe I'll put someone's eye out. Hehe...



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