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The Beloit College Mindset List: A Fun Look At Gen Y

The Beloit College Mindset List: A Fun Look At Gen Y

Since it's Labor Day, we thought we'd have a little fun . . . As a "student" of youth culture, I have always loved the annual Beloit College Mindset List. What allegedly originated in 1997 as an email forward has become an annual reminder that the Fall semester has begun on college campuses around the country. Through a series of "always" and "nevers," the list looks at the cultural "mindset" of 18-year-olds as they enter college. It's a fun, insightful way of looking at how young people view their world from the benefit of cultural hindsight. As youth workers, it's just another creative way to gain a little insight into the generation gap that exists (but that is not impassable!) between adults and teens. Following is an edited version of this year's list (the full one is available on the Mindset List website.)

The (abbreviated) Class of 2014 Beloit College Mindset List

Most students entering college for the first time this fall—the Class of 2014—were born in 1992. For these students, Benny Hill, Sam Kinison, Sam Walton, Bert Parks, and Tony Perkins have always been dead.

  1. Few in the class know how to write in cursive.
  2. Email is just too slow, and they seldom if ever use snail mail.
  3. Al Gore has always been animated.
  4. "Caramel macchiato" and "venti half-caf vanilla latte" have always been street corner lingo.
  5. John McEnroe has never played professional tennis.
  6. Clint Eastwood is better known as a sensitive director than as Dirty Harry.
  7. Doctor Kevorkian has never been licensed to practice medicine.
  8. Colorful lapel ribbons have always been worn to indicate support for a cause.
  9. Korean cars have always been a staple on American highways.
  10. Trading Chocolate the Moose for Patti the Platypus helped build their Beanie Baby collection.
  11. Fergie is a pop singer, not a princess.
  12. They never twisted the coiled handset wire aimlessly around their wrists while chatting on the phone.
  13. DNA fingerprinting and maps of the human genome have always existed.
  14. Leno and Letterman have always been trading insults on opposing networks.
  15. Unless they found one in their grandparents' closet, they have never seen a carousel of Kodachrome slides.
  16. Computers have never lacked a CD-ROM disk drive.
  17. Reggie Jackson has always been enshrined in Cooperstown.
  18. "Viewer Discretion" has always been an available warning on TV shows.
  19. Czechoslovakia has never existed.
  20. Second-hand smoke has always been an official carcinogen.
  21. Adhesive strips have always been available in varying skin tones.
  22. Bud Selig has always been the Commissioner of Major League Baseball.
  23. There have always been HIV positive athletes in the Olympics.
  24. American companies have always done business in Vietnam.
  25. Russians and Americans have always been living together in space.
  26. They have always had a chance to do community service with local and federal programs to earn money for college.
  27. Nirvana is on the classic oldies station. (Ouch!)
  28. Toothpaste tubes have always stood up on their caps.
  29. Rock bands have always played at presidential inaugural parties.
  30. Beethoven has always been a good name for a dog.
  31. Having hundreds of cable channels but nothing to watch has always been routine.
  32. The U.S, Canada, and Mexico have always agreed to trade freely.
  33. Ruth Bader Ginsburg has always sat on the Supreme Court.
  34. They have never worried about a Russian missile strike on the U.S.
  35. It seems the Post Office has always been going broke.
  36. The artist formerly known as Snoop Doggy Dogg has always been rapping.

Share your thoughts with the youthministry360 community:

  • Which ones caught your eye? Which ones made you feel old? (The Nirvana one got me. I was in 9th grade when "Smells Like Teen Spirit" came out.) Any you would add?
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