We all view life and the world around us from our own frame of reference. Older people sometimes have trouble keeping up with such rapid change in our technological age. But younger people often have trouble thinking beyond their comparatively limited experiences. It's not uncommon for a young person to say with complete confidence, "I'll never need this. Why do I have to study it?" I heard a wise, older teacher tell that his reply to such a comment is "You are not equipped to know that."
As yet another new batch of freshman has arrived on campus, it's good to be reminded of what is "reality" for them. One way to do that that is becoming a tradition is to check the beloit.edu site to read their listing of the "mindset" of this year's freshman class. What I'm sending today is an edited version of their list - the items I found most interesting. If you want to read their list unedited, you can go to their site given below. Bear in mind that what these 18 year olds remember probably did not happen until after they were 5 or 6 years old.
BELOIT COLLEGE'S MINDSET LIST (edited)
FOR THE CLASS OF 2010
Members of the class of 2010, the freshmen entering college this fall, were mostly born in 1988.
For them, the Soviet Union has never existed and therefore is about as scary as the student union.
They have known only two presidents.
For most of their lives, major U.S. airlines have been bankrupt.
Manuel Noriega has always been in jail in the U.S.
There has always been only one Germany.
They have never heard anyone actually "ring it up" on a cash register.
They are wireless, yet always connected.
Thanks to pervasive headphones in the back seat, parents have always been able to speak freely in the front.
A coffee has always taken longer to make than a milkshake.
Smoking has never been permitted on U.S. airlines.
Faux fur has always been a necessary element of style.
They have never had to distinguish between the St. Louis Cardinals baseball and football teams.
DNA fingerprinting has always been admissible evidence in court.
They grew up pushing their own miniature shopping carts in the supermarket.
They grew up with and have outgrown faxing as a means of communication.
"Google" has always been a verb.
Text messaging is their email.
Mr. Rogers, not Walter Cronkite, has always been the most trusted man in America.
Bar codes have always been on everything, from library cards and snail mail to retail items.
Carbon copies are oddities found in their grandparents' attics.
They grew up in mini-vans.
Young women's fashions have never been concerned with where the waist is.
They have rarely mailed anything using a stamp.
Brides have always worn white for a first, second, or third wedding.
Being techno-savvy has always been inversely proportional to age.
"So" as in "That is sooooo New York," has always been a drawn-out adjective modifying a proper noun, which in turn modifies something else
They have always been able to watch wars and revolutions live on television.
Retin-A has always made America look less wrinkled.
Small white holiday lights have always been in style.
Most of them never had the chance to eat bad airline food.
They have always been searching for "Waldo."
They never played the game of state license plates in the car.
They have always preferred going out in groups as opposed to dating.
There have always been live organ donors.
They have always had access to their own credit cards.
They have never put their money in a "Savings & Loan."
Bad behavior has always been getting captured on amateur videos.
Disneyland has always been in Europe and Asia.
Beach volleyball has always been a recognized sport.
Acura, Lexus, and Infiniti have always been luxury cars of choice.
Television stations have never concluded the broadcast day with the national anthem.
Disposable contact lenses have always been available.
Oh, The Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss has always been the perfect graduation gift.
They have always "dissed" what they don't like.
The U.S. has always been studying global warming to confirm its existence.
Richard M. Daley has always been the Mayor of Chicago.
They grew up with virtual pets to feed, water, and play games with, lest they die.
Professional athletes have always competed in the Olympics.
Last week we had an all-too-brief visit from a friend I met in France in 1975 - Doris Gilbert, for those of you who know her. I hadn't seen her in 14 years, and it was wonderful to see someone whose life has had such an impact on mine. It was a huge blessing to see her continuing to minister to many, at age 83, long after she's officially "retired from ministry." She asked me if other seniors receive my iv's, and I assured her that there are a good number in that category on my mailing list. Since she had brought the age thing up, I told her that I wanted to ask her, since she knew him personally, if George Washington was a nice man. Without missing a beat, she said, "You must have me confused with my grandfather." We did talk a little about history, and it was neat to hear the perspectives of someone who has lived even more of history than we have.
To the assembled faculty this fall: "All of us are students, learners, sitting at His feet." - Dr. Stewart Custer
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You know it's going to be a bad day when your teenager knocks on your bedroom door first thing in the morning and says, "Today is Nerd Day at school, Dad. Can I borrow some of your clothes?"
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