According to Beloit College’s annual “Mindset List,” which has been looking into the lives of incoming college freshmen every year since 1998, most students set to walk onto a college campus for the first time this year were born in 1997. That same year saw the release of the movie “Titanic,” the birth of Dolly the sheep, and the death of Princess Diana.
Other trivia from that year include the publication of the first Harry Potter book in the United Kingdom, South Park’s debut on the television screen, and the birth of Michael “Prince” Jackson Jr..
Tom McBride, one of the creators of the list, notes that the historical facts help faculty members being able to better understand their students, writes Jacquellena Carrero for NBC News. “The message for faculty is: Don’t assume that your old references will always continue to make sense,” McBride said.
“The Class of 2019 will enter college with high technology an increasing factor in how and even what they learn,” said Charles Westerberg, Director of the Liberal Arts in Practice Center and Brannon-Ballard Professor of Sociology at Beloit College. “They will encounter difficult discussions about privilege, race, and sexual assault on campus. They may think of the ‘last century’ as the twentieth, not the nineteenth, so they will need ever wider perspectives about the burgeoning mass of information that will be heading their way. And they will need a keen ability to decipher what is the same and what has changed with respect to many of these issues.””
Also included in the list are the thoughts of incoming freshmen concerning the world around them. This year, students believe Wi-Fi to be an “entitlement” and e-mail to be the “new formal communication.” Meanwhile, texts and tweets are widely thought to be informal means of communication, reports Tyler Kingkade for The Huffington Post. Teachers are continuously working toward having their students open a book for information rather than a website.
According to the list, the incoming college freshman has never licked a postage stamp; has only seen color photos on the front page of The New York Times; has never known a world where Notorious B.I.G., Jacques Cousteau, or Mother Teresa were alive; and has never existed without Google, which in its founding words, has always been there “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible.”
The Mindset List has been published every August by Beloit College since 1998, offering a closer look at cultural benchmarks important to students entering the freshmen class of that year.