Times Change, Do You?

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Each August since 1998, Beloit College has released the Beloit College Mindset List.  It’s a look at the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students entering college.

It’s a reminder of how quickly the frame of reference changes for the next generation. Born in 1991?  When Did I Get So Old?

I love the list because it brings together two big concepts from this blog:  change and the fact I’m getting older (and older… and older).

You can see all 12 lists HERE.

 

My favorites from The Beloit College Mindset List for the Class of 2013 (just so you feel worse about yourself… most students entering college for the first time in the fall of 2009 were born in 1991).

1.  For these students, Martha Graham, Pan American Airways, Michael Landon, Dr. Seuss, Miles Davis, The Dallas Times Herald, Gene Roddenberry, and Freddie Mercury have always been dead.

2.  Dan Rostenkowski, Jack Kevorkian, and Mike Tyson have always been felons.

3.  The Green Giant has always been Shrek, not the big guy picking vegetables.

4.  They have never used a card catalog to find a book.

5.  Margaret Thatcher has always been a former prime minister.

6.  Salsa has always outsold ketchup.

7.  Tattoos have always been very chic and highly visible.

8.  They have been preparing for the arrival of HDTV all their lives.

9.  Rap music has always been main stream.

10.  The KGB has never officially existed.

11.  Text has always been hyper.

12.  Babies have always had a Social Security Number.

13.  They have never had to “shake down” an oral thermometer.

14.  American students have always lived anxiously with high-stakes educational testing.

15.  State abbreviations in addresses have never had periods.

16.  McDonald’s has always been serving Happy Meals in China.

17.  Cable television systems have always offered telephone service and vice versa.

18.  The American health care system has always been in critical condition.

19.  There has always been a Cartoon Network.

20.  They have always been able to read books on an electronic screen.

21.  Women have always outnumbered men in college.

22.  We have always watched wars, coups, and police arrests unfold on television in real time.

23.  Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Latvia, Georgia, Lithuania, and Estonia have always been independent nations.

24.  It’s always been official: President Zachary Taylor did not die of arsenic poisoning.

25.  Ozzy Osbourne has always been coming back.

26.  Kevin Costner has always been Dancing with Wolves, especially on cable.

27.  There have always been flat screen televisions.

28.  Everyone has always known what the evening news was before the Evening News came on.

29.  Someone has always been asking: “Was Iraq worth a war?”

30.  Most communities have always had a mega-church.

31.  The status of gays in the military has always been a topic of political debate.

32.  There has always been a Planet Hollywood.

33.  For one reason or another, California’s future has always been in doubt.

34.  There has always been a computer in the Oval Office.

35.  Two Koreas have always been members of the UN.

36.  Official racial classifications in South Africa have always been outlawed.

37.  The NBC Today Show has always been seen on weekends.

38.  Vice presidents of the United States have always had real power.

39.  Conflict in Northern Ireland has always been slowly winding down.

40.   There has always been blue Jell-O.

 

My frame of reference (1985):

1.  Stamps cost 22 cents.

2.  A gallon of gas was $1.09.

3.  The first mobile phone call was made in the United Kingdom.

4.  President Reagan and Soviet Leader Gorbachev meet for the first time in Switzerland.

5.  Live Aid Concerts in Philadelphia and London raise over 50 million for famine relief in Ethiopia.

6.  Compact Discs were first sold (Night Ranger and Dokken never sounded better).

7.  New Coke was introduced (in retrospect, not the best idea).

8.  Dire Straits… Money for Nothing (and Chicks for Free…).

9.  President Reagan was in charge.  America was cool.

10.  I started college with a plan.  And 25 years later, I’m still trying to figure out what I want to do with my life.

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11 Responses to “Times Change, Do You?”


  1. Teach_J (Robert Courtemanche)
    on May 11th, 2010
    @ 7:55 pm

    Makes you feel old. I started college in ’85 too. Still waiting for the plan to work out too. lol


  2. Tammy
    on May 11th, 2010
    @ 7:59 pm

    Man I feel old….I officially started college in ’96 (just finishing now…took a long break) and this stuff is crazy!


  3. Pat
    on May 12th, 2010
    @ 3:36 am

    Wow! Now I really feel old (I’m older than you!). By the way, I mentioned youu on my blog today http://successfulteaching.blogspot.com/2010/05/blogs-worth-taking-look-at.html

    Michael Smith Reply:

    @Pat, Thanks for the mention!!!!

    I owe you.


  4. Diane
    on May 12th, 2010
    @ 4:30 am

    I graduated college in ’85.

    Remember when MTV used to be about the videos?

    I have record albums. When my son was about 3 (he’s 14) he asked when we were going to play “the big cd’s”. I had no idea what he was talking about until he showed me the albums. He thought they were giant black cd’s.


  5. Dave George
    on May 12th, 2010
    @ 8:10 am

    Ditto on the feeling old thing. The one about Iraq is incredible. I got called out of college and recalled into the army for the first Gulf War! This list is a great reminder of how we need to frame things with their point of view in mind.

    Then again, students NEED to study their history. Just because things happened before they were born, doesn’t mean they don’t need to be aware of them. I had a History professor tell me once that a freshman came up to him and said, “Thank you so much for teaching us about World War I, because it always confused me why they referred to the other one as World War TWO!”


  6. Olwyn Hughes
    on May 12th, 2010
    @ 7:18 pm

    You left out my personal favourite. Number 73: Nobody has ever responded to “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.” This one made me laugh out loud!

    I started college in 1987 and still remember the monstrous computer that we shipped across the country in about 4 boxes!


  7. Olwyn Hughes
    on May 12th, 2010
    @ 7:20 pm

    Oh, and, of course, there was no internet. Just this ginormous computer for word processing. It really is amazing how things have changed so quickly in the past 23 years.

    Just today I had one of my grade 1′s asking to use the computer to look up something for science research. Amazing!


  8. Richard Byrne
    on May 13th, 2010
    @ 5:17 am

    To kids entering college today “remixing” and creating playlists has never involved recording songs off the radio using a cassette tape.

    Michael Smith Reply:

    @Richard Byrne, Mix Tapes.

    Very cool.


  9. Michelle Howell-Martin
    on May 15th, 2010
    @ 3:56 am

    I feel like I have done some serious time travel with this post. And yes, I still miss watching videos on MTV (it made staying up all night working on that paper I procrastinated on a bit more fun!).

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