Beloit College Mindset List for the Class of 2020

Jim Liebelt | Senior Editor of Publications for HomeWord | Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Beloit College Mindset List for the Class of 2020

*The following is excerpted from an online article from Beloit College.

We have had the NOW generation…get ready for the RIGHT NOW generation, entering college this fall. This fall’s entering college students, the class of 2020, were 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 running for 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.

In their lifetimes they have always had eBay and iMacs, and India and Pakistan have always had the bomb. 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.

And although they think of themselves as a powerful generation—Sanders voters, consumers—they are faced with the prospect of student loan debt and of robots and foreigners taking their jobs making them feel anxious and weak. “They know that they’re going to have to wait for that first breakthrough job and getting their school loans paid off.” said Tom McBride, one of the List’s authors. “They’re an impatient generation learning how to be patient.”

The Beloit College Mindset List is created by Ron Nief, Director Emeritus of Beloit College Public Affairs; Tom McBride, Professor Emeritus of English; and Charles Westerberg, Brannon-Ballard Professor of Sociology. Additional items on the list as well as commentaries and guides are found on this site and at Regular updates and discussions are on Facebook and Twitter.

Among those who have never been alive in their lifetime are Frank Sinatra, Phil Hartman, Matthew Shepard, Sonny Bono, and Flo-Jo.

Highlights from this year's mindset list:

1. There has always been a digital swap meet called eBay.
7. The Sandy Hook tragedy is their Columbine.
9. Elian Gonzalez, who would like to visit the U.S. again someday, has always been back in Cuba.
10. The United States has always been at war.
15. They have never had to watch or listen to programs at a scheduled time.
21. Vaccines have always been erroneously linked to autism.
26. If you want to reach them, you’d better send a text—emails are oft ignored.
27. They disagree with their parents as to which was the “first” Star Wars episode.
32. Books have always been read to you on
38. A Bush and a Clinton have always been campaigning for something big.
41. Snowboarding has always been an Olympic sport.
43. While chads were hanging in Florida, they were potty training in all 50 states.
52. Airline tickets have always been purchased online.
60. Michael J. Fox has always spoken publicly about having Parkinson's disease.

To view the entire list of 50 items, click here.

Source: Beloit College

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Mindset List is a registered trademark