23 August 2009

Class of 2013 Mindset List

Every year, Beloit College in Wisconsin puts together a list for its faculty. The list "provides a look at the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students entering college. It is the creation of Beloit’s Keefer Professor of the Humanities Tom McBride and Emeritus Public Affairs Director Ron Nief. It is used around the world as the school year begins, as a reminder of the rapidly changing frame of reference for this new generation."

I've blogged about a couple of the lists in the past (Classes of 2009 and 2010), but this year's version is special for me. Those entering college this year were born the year I started my career: 1991. So, as I look at this list, I see a time capsule of my life in education. You can find the entire Class of 2013 version here, but a sample is below:

  • They have never used a card catalog to find a book.
  • Salsa has always outsold ketchup.
  • Earvin "Magic" Johnson has always been HIV-positive.
  • Text has always been hyper.
  • Babies have always had a Social Security Number.
  • They have never had to “shake down” an oral thermometer.
  • American students have always lived anxiously with high-stakes educational testing.
  • Except for the present incumbent, the President has never inhaled.
  • State abbreviations in addresses have never had periods.
  • The European Union has always existed.
  • McDonald's has always been serving Happy Meals in China.
  • Condoms have always been advertised on television.
  • Their folks could always reach for a Zoloft.
  • Women have always outnumbered men in college.
  • We have always watched wars, coups, and police arrests unfold on television in real time.
  • Elizabeth Taylor has always reeked of White Diamonds.
  • There has always been a Planet Hollywood.
My sense of time is different now than when I was in the classroom. There is no beginning/end to the school year for me---no winter/spring break...no summer holiday. Starting a new job on September 1 is about as close as I'll get to ringing in Year 19 of my career. In the meantime, it's fun for me to look at this list and think about not only how the world has changed since I started down this road, but how I have, too.

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