Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Beloit College Mindset List for the Class of 2014

You may have heard about the famous "Mindset List" published each year at this time by Wisconsin's Beloit College. The original idea of the mindset list, first published in 1998, was to provide the faculty and staff of the college with a series of reference points to help them understand the life-shaping experiences of the incoming freshman class. Since then, it has become a sort of cultural icon on its own, analyzed and discussed across the country.

Here are a few interesting data points from the Mindset List for the Class of 2014, with my added commentary. You can read the entire list here.

1. There has always been only one Germany. Many young people today have no idea when World War II was fought, and who won. When I lived in Berlin, there was a wall around it, and people risked their lives to get over that wall into the West.

2. They have never heard anyone actually "ring it up" on a cash register. I wrote about this in a post one never hear any more the musical ka-ching of the little flags with the price in dollars and cents popping up as the drawer opened.

3. Text messaging is their email. E-mail and the telephone pretty much replaced handwritten letters (see #5 below), and now tweets are replacing e-mail. How much shorter can we get?

4. Carbon copies are oddities found in their grandparents' attics. So are those wonderful-smelling mimeographs we used to get in grade school (and even high school...and college).

5. They have rarely mailed anything using a stamp. Is it any wonder that the Postal Service is going broke? And - by the way - what does this foretell for the future of stamp collecting as a hobby?

6. Bad behavior has always been getting captured on amateur videos. And that bad behavior is often posted - out of context - on the Internet, where it never, ever goes away ... as many unfortunate job-seekers have learned to their sorrow.

7. Television stations have never concluded the broadcast day with the national anthem. Either because the "broadcast day" is 24 hours long, or because the station management doesn't want to offend viewers who are in the country illegally.

8. The U.S. has always been studying global warming to confirm its existence. Duh.

The Beloit College Mindset List. I'm interested to hear your comments on any of the items on the them in the comments.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.



Amanda said...

I need to go look up what mimeographs are.

It looks like I might also need to go check up what all the tweets are about. I have purposely stayed away from twitter all this while because I just don't have time to communicate in so many short ways. But, its the second time today that I'm hearing about tweets replacing emails.

LOL! The vw is "wasters"!

Bandit said...

I'm older than dirt.

KathyA said...

When I first began teaching, we used mimeographs to make copies -- actually did well into the 90s. My hands were always that tell tale purple!
In the years before I left teaching, my presentations became more and more technical -- I made transparencies and many copies at home with a laser printer. I checked students' work for plagiarism online! Who would have ever thought??

Mike said...

I don't have a clue as to what some of those 75 items are.