For those entering college this year, human beings have always been living—not just traveling—in space. The United States has always had troops in Afghanistan. Same-sex marriage has always been legal somewhere, and the once revolutionary “You’ve got mail” announcement from AOL is almost forgotten, according to the 21st Annual Mindset List from Beloit College.
A lot can change in just 18 years, but these same 18 years also make up the mindset—or “event horizon”—of today’s entering college students, Beloit College notes. Born in 2000, the first year of the new millennium, these students are members of the college class of 2022. Their new designation—iGen, GenZ, etc. — has not yet been agreed upon by them.
“Students come to college with particular assumptions based on the horizons of their lived experience,” notes Tom McBride, author and Beloit emeritus professor of English. “All teachers need to monitor their references, while students need to appreciate that without a sound education they will never get beyond the cave of their own limited personal experiences.”
Among their classmates could be Madonna’s son Rocco, Will Smith’s daughter Willow, or David Bowie and Iman’s daughter Alexandria.
Other notable points on the list include:
- They have always been able to refer to Wikipedia.
- They have grown up afraid that a shooting could happen at their school, too.
- People loudly conversing with themselves in public are no longer thought to be talking to imaginary friends.
- Investigative specials examining the O.J. Simpson case have been on TV annually since their birth.
- When filling out forms, they are not surprised to find more than two gender categories to choose from.
- Presidents winning the popular vote and then losing the election are not unusual.
- Someone has always skied non-stop down Mount Everest.
- They’ve grown up with stories about where their grandparents were on 11/22/63 and where their parents were on 9/11.
- The words veritas and horizon have always been joined together to form Verizon.
- They will never fly TWA, Swissair, or Sabena airlines.
- The Tower of Pisa has always had a prop to keep it leaning.
- There has never been an Enron.
- The Prius has always been on the road in the U.S.
- They never used a spit bowl in a dentist’s office.
- There has always been a Survivor.
- Mifepristone or RU-486, commonly called the “abortion pill,” has always been available in the U.S.
- A visit to a bank has been a rare event.
- “Bipartisan” is soooo last century.
- Robert Downey Jr. has always been the sober Iron Man.
- Exotic animals have always been providing emotional support to passengers on planes.
- Lightbulbs have always been shatterproof.
- Xlerators have always been drying hands in 15 seconds with a roar.
- I Love You has always been a computer virus.
- Thumbprints have always provided log in security—and are harder to lose—than a password.
- Robots have always been able to walk on two legs and climb stairs.
- There have always been space tourists willing to pay the price.
- Mass market books have always been available exclusively as Ebooks.
- Oprah has always been a magazine.
- The folks may have used a Zipcar to get them to the delivery room on time.
- Google Doodles have never recognized major religious holidays.
- Chernobyl has never produced any power in their lifetimes.
- Donny and Marie who?
- They never tasted Pepsi Twist in the U.S.
- Films have always been distributed on the Internet.
- Environmental disasters such as the BP Deepwater Horizon, and the coal sludge spill in Martin City, Ky., have always exceeded the Exxon Valdez oil spill.
- The detachable computer mouse is almost extinct.
The Mindset List’s creator Ron Nief, Public affairs director emeritus at Beloit College, says this will be the last year that the Mindset List will be associated with Beloit College, but it will continue in the future at themindsetlist.com or at a new institutional home.