Professors dealing with new freshmen#039;s #8216;Mindset#039;

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 14, 2006

With summer waning and thousands of first-year students eagerly flocking to colleges throughout the country, another eagerly anticipated event happened last week when Beloit (Wisc.) College released its annual Mindset List.

The List, which was the brainchild of Professors Tom McBride and Ron Nief, looks at events that have shaped the lives of first-year college students. According to McBride, this year's flock of freshmen form &#8220a generation that has always been ‘connected' and is used to things happening in ‘real time,' like live satellite coverage of revolutions and wars, instant messaging and movies on demand. They expect solutions for every problem, from baldness to diseased organs. To the chagrin of teachers and parents, they've developed their own generational means of communication.”

Most of this year's college freshmen are 18 years-old, were born in 1988 and grew up with a mouse in one hand and looking to a computer screen to learn about the world around them. They learned to surf the internet before many of them learned to read.

Email newsletter signup

Besides being an ice breaker at seminars, the Mindset List is used by businesses, the clergy and the military as a way to learn how to connect with the newest generation.

The list is pretty thought provoking, especially for those of us getting a little &#8220long in the tooth.”

Below are excerpts from the list, which can be found in its entirety at

n The Soviet Union has never existed and therefore is about as scary as the student union.

n They have known only two presidents.

n They have grown up getting lost in &uot;big boxes.&uot;

n There has always been only one Germany.

n They have never heard anyone actually &uot;ring it up&uot; on a cash register.

n They are wireless, yet always connected.

n A coffee has always taken longer to make than a milkshake.

n Smoking has never been permitted on U.S. airlines.

n DNA fingerprinting has always been admissible evidence in court.

n &uot;Google&uot; has always been a verb.

n Bar codes have always been on everything, from library cards and snail mail to retail items.

n Madden has always been a game, not a Superbowl-winning coach.

n There has never been a &uot;skyhook&uot; in the NBA.

n Carbon copies are oddities found in their grandparents’ attics.

n They grew up in mini-vans.

n They have rarely mailed anything using a stamp.

n Brides have always worn white for a first, second, or third wedding.

n &uot;So&uot; as in &uot;Sooooo New York,&uot; has always been a drawn-out adjective modifying a proper noun, which in turn modifies something else

n They have always been able to watch wars and revolutions live on television.

n They have always preferred going out in groups as opposed to dating.

n There have always been live organ donors.

n They have never put their money in a &uot;Savings & Loan.&uot;

n Television stations have never concluded the broadcast day with the national anthem.

n Disposable contact lenses have always been available.

n Ringo Starr has always been clean and sober.

n Professional athletes have always competed in the Olympics.

Dennis Palmer is publisher of The Greenville Advocate. His column appears each Wednesday. He can be reached at 383-9302, ext. 125 or by email: