Karen Knapstein
August 21, 2012

The Class of 2016


Every year, Beloit College releases “The Mindset List,” a compilation of fun facts and tidbits about the incoming class of college freshman around the country. Designed to provide perspective on what the world looks like to young people, you can usually find one or two things that make you think “whoa,” even if you are still in college yourself.

Looking through this year’s list, however, I (and apparently, my inner cranky old guy) started to wonder who wrote this thing.

Some of this year’s odder entries include:

  • “Robert Osborne has always been introducing Hollywood history on TCM.” Newsflash: The Class of 2016 isn’t watching Hollywood history on TCM. Or am I missing out on something?
  • “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome has always been officially recognized with clinical guidelines.” Okkkaaay. I guess this one is because of the pharmaceutical commercials?
  • “The Metropolitan Opera House in New York has always translated operas on seatback screens.” Nothing against the Opera, but that’s applicable to, what, 5,000 people?


There are also some that just aren’t true:

  • “They have never seen an airplane ‘ticket.’” You still have to have a boarding pass and it looks just like a ticket.
  • “The Twilight Zone involves vampires, not Rod Serling.” The AP disproved this one: “Thorin Blitz, 18, disagreed with that last item. He said it’s 13-year-old girls who watch ‘Twilight.’”
    “I’ve seen quite a few `Twilight Zone’ episodes,” said the incoming freshman from Charleston, Ill. “Most of us know what that is.”
  • “The Biblical sources of terms such as ?Forbidden Fruit,? ?The writing on the wall,? ?Good Samaritan,? and ?The Promised Land? are unknown to most of them.” Even if you’re not religious, or Christian, I think most people are familiar with the story of Adam and Eve and the Good Samaritan. I had to look up “the writing on the wall.”


Still, there are a few that seem surprising, and in fact make you think — or at lease feel a teensy bit old — especially:

  • “If they miss The Daily Show, they can always get their news on YouTube.” YouTube was created in 2005.
  • “Their folks have never gazed with pride on a new set of bound encyclopedias on the bookshelf.” We had a complete set and I used to use them to do homework.
  • “Before they purchase an assigned textbook, they will investigate whether it is available for rent or purchase as an e-book.” That one is huge. Textbooks are pricey!


Have you read the list? Do you think it provides insight into your generation, or do you think it’s edging up on silliness? Tell us in the comments.

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