Every year Beloit College in Beloit, Wisconsin, located south of Madison, southwest of Milwaukee and almost smack dab in the middle, and just north of the Illinois/Wisconsin border, issues its "Mindset List". This list basically serves to remind the faculty and staff of the cultural changes so quickly taking place and reminds them to avoid "dated" references which are likely to not only bore, but to place themselves in questionable standing with the students.
I decided to take a gander and see just how "behind the times" I may be, even though having grandchildren close to college age has given me some little insight into where they've been, where they are now and where they're going. As for my one year old grandson? Who knows what his future will bring, much less his freshman year of college.
So, the majority of the students entering into their freshman year in college right now, in 2010, were born in 1992 and will graduate in 2014.
- Most of them see emerging technology as too slow and the digital world as simply "routine". Most of them don't even know how to write in cursive! (Really? They don't teach that in school anymore? Oh, that's right. Typing class is now called Keyboarding.)
- It was interesting to discover that most of them see no need to wear a wristwatch because they have a cell phone to tell them the time. (Hmmmm. Me too! I had just never thought of it. I think that cell phones strapped to wrists would be a good thing and with the technological advances, it is certainly within the realm of possibilities that they will someday be small enough to be strapped to wrists comfortably.) In fact, these freshmen students wouldn't recognize the "sign" that pointing to your wrist is a request for the time.
- Email? Almost a thing of the past now. (That is just amazing to me. Yes, I still use email though I own an iphone, which, btw (text speak for "by the way") my grandchildren think is VERY cool.) Evidently today's freshmen find the "instant" communication offered by text message much faster than email. You can even get all of your FaceBook communications and status updates on your phone if you wish. (When, oh when will these students have time to actually learn if they do this?) Forget ‘Snail Mail"! It is only used in extreme circumstances with aging or stubborn relatives who don't have the technological savvy or desire to enter the 21st century.
- Street corner lingo, and that in the nation's coffee houses, has always included phrases like "caramel macchiato" and "venti half-caf vanilla latte". (Just give me a cup of plain old coffee with a bit of fat-free half & half please. I'm always confused on what to order when faced with a coffee menu, even at McDonald's.)
- I was amazed to discover that these kids believe that the world has always been trying harder to accommodate people with disabilities. They have never lived in a world where there were not Braille signs in every elevator or restroom and where a wheelchair did not have access to a building.
- They are much more "tolerant" of those celebrity kids that may attend college with them and are much less likely to engage in paparazzi-type behavior. (Celeb's kids are people too and I salute these astute college freshmen for realizing that.)
- Clint Eastwood is more widely known as a "sensitive" director, rather than the crime-busting vigilante of Dirty Harry fame. (This is actually kind of disappointing. I love Clint Eastwood and though I love all his movies, my fondest memories are of him saying "Make my day…".)
- When they think of Fergie, they think of the pop singer, not Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York.
- And sadly they have never had the joy of curling a twisted handset wire around their fingers and wrist, and sometimes their toes, as they talked on the phone. (I have even had my grandchildren spy an "old-fashioned" phone in an antique or thrift shop and ask me what it is!)
- Moms and Dads have never been able to walk them to the departure gate at the airport, except maybe when they were under the age of 10 and once they get through security, traveling is kind of like going to the mall with a plane ride at the end.
In addition, toothpaste tubes have always stood on their caps, food has always been prepared in a microwave, rock bands have always played at presidential inaugural parties, filtered ice and water have always come out of the door, Beethoven has always been a St. Bernard and Michelangelo is a deadly computer virus, not an Italian Renaissance artist.
LOL…what is this world coming to?