As a college professor — and a parent — I’ve long realized that it’s important to use relatable pop culture examples when talking with people, especially when the people are significantly younger than I am. If I tell a student to stop acting like Horshack in class today, I am met with the sound of crickets; 25 years ago, my students knew exactly what I meant.
Tom McBride and Ron Nief, two professors from Beloit College, have made it easier for folks like me to realize what’s going on in the minds of today’s college first-year students, at least in the United States, with their annual Mindset Lists. Just a few hours ago, McBride and Nief released the Mindset List for the Class of 2015. Below, I’ve cherry picked a baker’s dozen of my favorite items from the list. You can find the entire list at the Mindset List website.
- They “swipe” cards, not merchandise.
- Amazon has never been just a river in South America.
- Some of them have been inspired to actually cook by watching the Food Channel.
- Jimmy Carter has always been a smiling elderly man who shows up on TV to promote fair elections and disaster relief.
- Unlike their older siblings, they spent bedtime on their backs until they learned to roll over.
- Music has always been available via free downloads.
- All their lives, Whitney Houston has always been declaring “I Will Always Love You.”
- O.J. Simpson has always been looking for the killers of Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman.
- Life has always been like a box of chocolates.
- The Rocky Horror Picture Show has always been available on TV.
- Video games have always had ratings.
- McDonald’s coffee has always been just a little too hot to handle.
- They’ve often broken up with their significant others via texting, Facebook, or MySpace.
I encourage you to go take a look at the entire Mindset List for the Class of 2015; you just might find some ideas in there that will help you relate to today’s first-year student.