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What's on the minds of the incoming freshman class?


college student thinkingEvery August for the past 11 years, Beloit College has put out its Mindset List, which the small Wisconsin school describes as an attempt to get a sense of students’ cultural frames of reference, and how they’ve have changed from those of previous classes.

In a first, Beloit College also released this year’s list via Webcast. On streaming video, Ron Nief, Beloit’s director of public affairs, and humanities professor Tom McBride offer a preview of the list’s 60 aphorism-style items they think reflect the student body’s cultural touchstones.

For example: These incoming freshmen have never known that gas stations used to fix flat tires, but these same eighteen-year-olds hardly bat an eye at the cappuccinos often served in the stations’ generic marts.

In another instance, Beloit reckons that this fall’s two million matriculates will hardly recognize the landline telephones available in their dorm rooms as long as these young adults have used phones regularly, they’ve been cellular. And for them, the Hubble Space Telescope (launched in 1990) has always been scanning the heavens, and Brett Favre has always quarterbacked for the Green Bay Packers.

That’s no longer true, of course.


Image credit: iStockPhoto





The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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