This fall’s entering college students, the class of 2020, were generally born in 1998 and cannot remember a time when they had to wait for anything.
They also can’t recall a time when the United States was not at war, or when someone named Bush or Clinton was not vying for a political office.
Each August since 1998, Beloit College has released the Beloit College Mindset List, providing a look at the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students about to enter college.
For this year’s entering college freshmen, in their lifetimes they have always had eBay and iMacs, and India and Pakistan have always been nuclear powers. The Sopranos and SpongeBob SquarePants have always been part of popular culture, Gretzky and Elway have always been retired, and Vladimir Putin has always been in charge in the Kremlin.
More interesting items on the list include:
- There have always been Cadillac Escalades, but these entering college freshmen just don’t seem to be all that into cars.
- West Nile has always been a virus found in the U.S.
- he Ali/Frazier boxing match for their generation was between the daughters of Muhammad and Joe.
- They have never had to watch or listen to programs at a scheduled time.
- Each year they’ve been alive the U.S. population has grown by more than one million Latinos.
- Laws against on-the-job harassment have always applied to parties of the same sex.
- If you want to reach them, you’d better send a text—emails are oft ignored.
- They disagree with their parents about which was the “first” Star Wars episode.
- Books have always been read to them on audible.com.
- They have never seen billboard ads for cigarettes.
- Airline tickets have always been purchased online.
- Instant, tray-less ice cube makers have never been a novelty.