Sunday, August 22, 2010

Jill's alternate to the 2014 Beloit College Mindset List

Welcome to SU!
Each year Beloit College releases its mindset list about incoming freshmen.  For some reason, this year's list of what has impacted their mindset didn't seem to contain things that I thought were relevant, so I'm creating my own.

Incoming college/university freshmen were born in 1992.  Here are some other things that you need to know about them:  (My apologies for the list being a bit U.S.-centric.)
  • When Facebook was originally launched (2004), they were too young to use the service. 
  • They are as old as AOL's international email gateway (announced in 1992).  By the way, in October 1992, AOL boasted having 200,000 subscriber households. 
  • The short message service (SMS or texting) was begun the same year they were born.  
  • They were born after the first Gulf War (1990-1991).  The current war in the Iraq and Afghanistan is the only war many of them know.
  • They don't remember George H.W. Bush as president of the U.S. (1989-1993). (8/23: Corrected George's middle initials)
  • They have only known three presidents of the United States: Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.  (8/23: Corrected George's middle initial)
  • Debit cards have always been an option when paying for goods and services.
  • Television
  • Black and white television is something their grandparents watched.
  • Cars have always has loads of safety features.  (A car without seatbelts? Never!)
  • Nelson Mandela has always been free.  He was released from prison in 1990.
  • William Shatner is recognized for acting in commercials and not from his work in Star Trek.
  • England's Prince Charles has only been married to Camilla Parker Bowles.
  • They don't know how to use a typewriter and don't understand any typewriter references (like carriage return).
  • In the United States, walking to elementary or high school is something their parents might have done.
  • CNN has always been a major news network (founded in 1980).
  • The idea of receiving news through limited forms (e.g., morning newspapers, radio, and morning/evening TV news programs) is a very odd concept.
  • ESPN has always been a major sports network (founded in 1978).
Let's assume that the parents of these freshmen were born between 1964-1974. That means the parents:
  • Were born after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.
  • May not have strong memories of the Vietnam War.
  • May not remember the race riots of the 1960s that impacted many cities in the United States.
  • Depending on where they were born, may remember black-and-white television.
  • Were born before the introduction of the IBM and the Apple computers.
  • May have a recollection of a personal computer that was called a "black" Apple.  (Made/sold by Bell and Howell, if my memory serves me correct.)
  • May remember the oil crisis of the 1970s.
E pluribus unumMaking some assumptions about when the grandparents of our freshmen were born, it is likely that their grandparents were not alive during the Great Depression, but that they were raised by people who were.  Those who lived through the depression were thrifty people.  They saved everything - money, string, bottles, etc.  They did without things that we consider necessities in order to live within their means.  They reused things that we're now learning to reuse (again).  Their children  - the grandparents of our freshmen - learned about being thrifty, but grew up in an era of abundance (and their parents wanted them to enjoy an abundant life).  The grandparents of our freshmen passed their enjoyment of abundance onto their children - the parents of our freshmen. Our freshmen are torn between what their parents are used to and the current economic reality.  In my mind, they may become generation that is associated with the Great Recession of the early 21st century.  Sadly, they are too far removed from the generation that went through the Great Depression to be able to learn from them.

Now it's your turn...when you think about our incoming freshmen class - born in 1992 - what events, technologies, etc., do you think has impacted their mindset?


Jill Hurst-Wahl said...

A friend, Anne F., left this comment in Facebook:

"Great additions to the Beloit List. I'd add that they were only one year old when Mosaic made graphical use of the Web possible in 1993; they could start IM-ing on AOL when they were five years old (they've never had to do their homework without chatting with their friends at the same time); and by the time they were in elementary school they could find homework answers by using Yahoo, Altavista and then "Google" rather than looking in a print encyclopedia or calling their local public reference librarian."

Jill Hurst-Wahl said...

Someone in Twitter just pointed out that I had misspelled "mindset" in the title of this post and I've corrected it. This brings up another thing about our freshmen...they have always used software that contained a spellchecker! That means that they have been less reliant on dictionaries, proofreading, etc.

Susan said...

Jill, you should be the one composing the Beloit College list! Yours is much more accurate. As someone who is about to live through, for the second time, the struggle of cursive homework for a kid with few fine motor skills, I know #1 on Beloit's list is wrong. And last year they said that kids born in 1991 had never seen manual roll-up windows. Boy, did that kill my pride in my brand-new 2009 Toyota with manual windows!

Jill Hurst-Wahl said...

Two more comments from Facebook:

Joan S. wrote: "They seem to take for granted the targeted marketing, side bar advertising (what's the real term or acronym?) that tracks their keywords and opened pages on the internet."

And Anne F. responded: "Good point--which brings up the point that they have different ideas about privacy than earlier generations."

Caryn Wesner-Early said...

Very good! I usually find several things on the Beloit List that shock, appall, and/or delight me, but not this year. Yours is a good addition.

Caryn Wesner-Early