On Sunday, we are taking our son Baylor to begin his college education at Hanover as the class of 2016. Baylor and I really enjoy having deep conversations and I am really going to miss those when he is gone. It dawned on me the other night during a discussion how differently we see the world. Not in terms of opinions and beliefs, but rather how the world is structured now as opposed to back in 1993 when he was born. For example, he only knows a world where relations between the U.S. and the rest of the world has been a woman's job in the State department.

Back in 1998, Beloit College began putting out what they called a Mindset List, which has provided a look at the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students entering college in the fall.

The list was originally given to faculty members as a reminder to be aware of any references in class that could be dated. It is now a catalog of the changing worldview of each new college generation used and monitored at the international level.

Below is a small example of the world our college freshmen have grown up in and what they know.

  • Today's incoming freshmen have always known football in Jacksonville but never Los Angeles
  • They have always lived in cyberspace, addicted to a new generation of 'electronic narcotics' like iPods and MP3 players.
  • They have never seen an airplane ticket
  • They watch TV everywhere but on a television set
  • They rarely listen to music on the car radio and really have no use for radio at all.
  • They have never used a set of bound encyclopedias they get from the bookshelf
  • Women have always piloted war planes and space shuttles
  • They have had to constantly remind us, their parents, that CDs and DVDs are not Tapes!!
  • They might be the most tribal generation in history because they despise being separated from contact with their similar-aged friends
  • Before purchasing or renting a required textbook they will first check to see if that book is available to them in the form of an e-book.
  • History has always had it's own channel.

Just think how different the world will be when our children drop off their children at college... amazing.