Want to know what the new college freshmen have never experienced? Or have always known? Want to feel old?
Well, it's that time of year again. It’s time for the Class of 2023 Mindset List.
The year was 1998 and a witty college professor at Beloit College (Wis.) wanted to reflect the world view of entering first year students at this small Midwest private college.
Ron Nief, the director of public affairs at Beloit College, created the list called “The Mindset List” to remind college professors to “watch your references” when talking to college freshmen. It started with the class of 2002, for students born in 1980. In later years, Nief teamed up with Tom McBride, an English professor, to help create the yearly list. Some say the duo should be hailed as “America’s cultural timekeepers.”
I was introduced to “The Mindset List” several years ago by a former managing editor and I have enjoyed reading it every year since.
Beloit College turned over the reins of the mindset this year to Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. This year’s list was published last week by the zany Marist College profs and I’d like to share a few favorites from “The Mindset List” for the Class of 2023:
• For this generation of college freshmen, half of the Beatles have always been dead. Born in 2001 the incoming class of college students never shared the earth with George Harrison, Timothy McVeigh, or Ken Kesey. Among their classmates could be Sasha Obama, or Duane “The Rock” Johnson’s daughter Simone.
• Like Pearl Harbor for their grandparents, and the Kennedy assassination for their parents, 9/11 is an historical event.
• Thumb, jump, and USB flash drives have always pushed floppy disks further into history.
• The primary use of a phone has always been to take pictures.
• The Tech Big Four--Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Google - are to them what the Big Three automakers were to their grandparents.
• When they pulled themselves up off the floor for the first time, they may have been hanging onto the folks’ brand-new Xbox.
• Self-contained, battery-powered artificial hearts have always been ticking away.
• Because of Richard Reid’s explosive footwear at 30,000 feet, passengers have always had to take off their shoes to slide through security on the ground.
• Snapchat has become their social media app of choice, thus relieving them of the dilemma of whether or not to friend Mom.
• PayPal has always been an online option for purchasers.
• They have witnessed two African-American Secretaries of State, the election of a black President, Disney’s first black Princess, and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement.
• As they crawled on the floor, TV headlines began crawling at the bottom of the TV screen.
• With flyovers, honor guards, and “God Bless America,” sporting events have always been marked by emphatic patriotism.
• YouTube has become the video version of Wikipedia.
• Apple iPods have always been nostalgic.
• Quarterback Troy Aikman has always called the plays live from the press booth.
• Face recognition technology has always been used at public events.
• The year they were born, the top NBA draft pick came directly out of high school for the first time.
• Most of them will rent, not buy, their textbooks.
• There have always been “smartwatches.”
• Their grandparents’ classic comics have evolved into graphic novels.
• They have grown up with a Patriot Act that has dramatically increased state surveillance to prevent terrorism.
• Monica and Chandler have always been married on Friends.
• Blackboards have never been dumb.
• Cal Ripken, Jr., has always been retired.
• Teams have always been engaged in an Amazing Race around the world.
• Finally … Coke and Pepsi always have been competing in the sports hydration science marketplace.