It’s that time of year again. Students are returning to colleges across the nation with a new freshman class. Which means the annual college freshman mindset list from Beloit College is out—always a cultural eye-opener in terms of changing times.
As the authors observe, the new millennium belongs to this year’s entering-college class of 2022. For this year’s freshmen, human beings have always been living – not just traveling – in space. The United States has always had a military presence in Afghanistan. Same-sex marriage has always been legal somewhere. And the once revolutionary “You’ve got mail” is almost forgotten.
I’ve picked a few of my favorites from Beloit College’s 60-point list. And remember, students heading into their first year of college this year are mostly 18 and were born in 2000.
- They are the first class born in the new millennium, escaping the dreaded label of “Millennial,” though their new designation – iGen, Gen Z, etc. – has not yet been agreed upon by them.
- Outer space has never been without human habitation.
- They have always been able to refer to Wikipedia.
- They have grown up afraid that a shooting could happen at their school, too.
- People loudly conversing with themselves in public are no longer thought to be talking to imaginary friends.
- Calcutta has always been Kolkata.
- Afghanistan has always been the frustrating quagmire that keeps on giving.
- Investigative specials examining the O.J. Simpson case have been on TV annually since their birth.
- Same-sex couples have always found marital bliss in the Netherlands.
- When filling out forms, they are not surprised to find more than two gender categories to choose from.
- Presidents winning the popular vote and then losing the election are not unusual.
- Parents have always been watching “Big Brother” and vice versa.
- They’ve grown up with stories about where their grandparents were on 11/22/63 and where their parents were on 9/11.
- They will never fly TWA, Swissair or Sabena airlines.
- There has never been an Enron.
- The Prius has always been on the road in the U.S.
- They never used a spit bowl in a dentist’s office.
- There has always been a “Survivor.”
- “You’ve got mail” would sound as ancient to them as “number, please” would have sounded to their parents.
- Mifepristone or RU-486, commonly called the “abortion pill,” has always been available in the U.S.
- A visit to a bank has been a rare event.
- They have never had to deal with “chads,” be they dimpled, hanging or pregnant.
- “Bipartisan” is soooo last century.
- Robert Downey Jr. has always been the sober Iron Man.
- “I Love You” has always been a computer virus.
- Robots have always been able to walk on two legs and climb stairs.
- There have always been space tourists willing to pay the price.
- Mass market books have always been available exclusively as ebooks.
- “Oprah” has always been a magazine.
- Google Doodles have never recognized major religious holidays.
- Donny and Marie who?
- Films have always been distributed on the Internet.
James Emery White
“The Beloit College Mindset List for the Class of 2022,” Beloit College, themindsetlist.com.
About the Author
James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC, and the ranked adjunctive professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also served as their fourth president. His latest book, Meet Generation Z: Understanding and Reaching the New Post-Christian World, is available on Amazon. To enjoy a free subscription to the Church & Culture blog, visit ChurchAndCulture.org, where you can view past blogs in our archive and read the latest church and culture news from around the world. Follow Dr. White on Twitter and Instagram @JamesEmeryWhite.