For teenagers entering college for the first time this fall, there has never been a ruling Communist Party in Russia, Amazon is more than just a South American river, and “LBJ” is more likely to mean LeBron James than the man who succeeded Kennedy.
These factoids and more are included in Beloit College’s “Mindset List,” an annual document that helps faculty understand the culture and psyche of the incoming class. This year’s list is catered to the class of 2015, a group that was born in 1993 (give or take a year).
In the world of academia, where professors can be several decades older than their adolescent students, misunderstandings due to generational gaps can interfere with learning. But since the late 1990s, the Wisconsin college has issued the list to help combat that problem.
Created by Ron Nief in 1998 to “reflect the worldview of entering first year students,” the Beloit College Mindset List started off as a witty tutorial for faculty colleagues but has since morphed into a widely hailed cultural reference tool. It exposes not just the culture teens exist in, but also how drastically our world has changed, especially in the arenas of technology, popular culture and politics. And it’s pretty funny to boot.
Ferris Bueller and Sloane Peterson could be their parents.
The only significant labor disputes in their lifetimes have been in major league sports.
We have never asked, and they have never had to tell.
They’ve often broken up with their significant others via texting, Facebook, or MySpace.
Women have always been kissing women on television.
Grown-ups have always been arguing about health care policy.
They won’t go near a retailer that lacks a website.
Read more tidbits from the full list here. And if it makes you feel old, it’s because you are.