Thursday, August 25, 2011

Jill's alternate to the 2015 Beloit College Mindset List

iSchool new student receptionBeloit College has released it 2015 Mindset List ® and, as I did last year, I'm going to write my own take on the mindset of this year's incoming college freshman class.

Incoming college/university freshmen were born in 1993.  Here are some other things - and odd pieces of trivia -  that you need to know about them:  (My apologies for the list being a bit U.S.-centric.)

  • Mobile technology - in a variety of forms - has always been a part of their lives. (It is interesting to note that the iPod and iTunes store were introduced in 2001 and 2003 respectively.)
  • Peer-to-peer file sharing - which began in 1999 - is normal for them, no matter if it is done legally or illegally.
  • The Iraq War (or Second Gulf War) is the only war that they know.  (It began in 2003.) The first Gulf War was before they were born (1990-1991). 
  • They have lived through two economic recessions (2001-2002 and 2008-present).
  • They have always known of people that were out of work because their employers downsized, outsourced, or went out of business.
  • They have watched their older friends have problems finding full-time work and may already be anxious about their own job prospects.
  • Financial security may be a foreign concept to many of them.
  • The increased security protocols that occurred after Sept. 11, 2001 are not abnormal to them.
  • They have grown up using debit cards and online banking, rather than relying on checks and in-person banking like their parents and grandparents.
  • Business casual is standard work attire for them.  The idea of suit-up Friday (which is an informal event in some communities) is cool because that level of dress up is a novelty.
  • Rap and hip hop music are mainstream forms of expression in their world.
  • Rapper Tupac Shakur, who has had a lasting impact on the music world, died before they knew who he was (1971-1996). 
  • They have grown up listening to Eminem (born in 1972) and may consider him an "old guy".
  • Politicians recently have been talking about "Reagan Republicans" and mentioning other things about the Reagan presidency.  President Ronald Reagan was in office from 1981–1989, before our incoming freshmen were born.
  • Need to give cardiac resuscitation? Doctors have recommended doing the compressions to be beat of "Staying Alive".  That song was released 16 years before they were born and is music associated with some funky era their parents went through.
  • The idea of a global economy is normal for them and has been reinforced by such things as:
    • The formation of a single market for the European Union (1993).
    • The enforcement of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) (1994). 
  • They don't remember Hong Kong as being a separate country from China.  (Britain turn it over to China in 1997.)
  • They never knew Czechoslovakia as a country.  (It dissolved in 1993.)
  • OJ Simpson, to our freshmen, has always been someone known for his legal problems and not for his abilities as a football player or for his airport sprints in a Hertz TV ad.
There's lots that I could say about this list and what it means for the worldview of our freshmen, but I'll comment only on the "employment".  I grew up when it was much easier for people to find a job.  Even people that were average workers could find meaningful employment.  That is no longer true.  Our freshmen know bright people that are out of work.  Some may be surrounded by people that are working several part-time jobs and see that type of employment to be more normal than working one job full-time.  And when they graduate from college, those things will likely impact how they look for a job and perhaps even what type of work they look for.  It will also impact them for the rest of their lives in the same way those that lived through the Great Depression were impacted by it.

If you have comments on this list (or on Beloit's), I would enjoy hearing them.  Please leave a comment!

1 comment:

Chris said...

"They don't remember Hong Kong as being a separate country from China. (Britain turn it over to China in 1997.)"

Now, now. I am sure there could have been LOTS of 4-year olds with a keen interest in global politics. Sort of modeled after Alex P. Keaton from Family Ties...what? They don't know what Family Ties was either? Oh. I am old.

Actually, I really appreciate this list and your time in making it. Also, I totally agree with your point on employment. I worry that by the time that students entering now get out we might be looking at an employment situation for this generation similar to many around the world. Already they are facing the worst job market in a very long time (see "Outlook Is Bleak Even for Recent College Graduates -"

Of course, this gives us more info that we can use in our library work. This is especially true in academic and public settings. As much as possible, tie workshops and such to the skills that employers are seeking. Collect and promote materials that deal with entrepreneurship in the disciplines your library covers. Make sure that you have a great relationship with your career office or the local job service or even unemployment office.

Thanks for doing this Jill!