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I’m Showing My Age…

August 27, 2011

Ah, the first week of class, always such fun! I teach a course each fall for freshmen and Monday  was the first day for the semester. 21 new minds to campus that I get to help guide and challenge to be better students… I love it. They are from all over the place, mainly the South, but I do have one from California and a few from New Jersey, but the rest are from the general South.  The beginning of the fall semester also means that is time for the release of the annual Beloit Mindset List. This list is produced by a few faculty members at Beloit College and it highlights the “ mind set” that the entering students are coming into college with. What they have known (or not known), basically what their frame of reference is as they arrive on campus. You can find the list here:

Since I work with college students, I always love to read this, gives me a little insight before I walk into the classroom on the first day… hopefully it keeps me from making references that are silly. Granted, it didn’t help me about two weeks ago when at an orientation we were talking about rival groups on campus and I made a reference to the Sharks and the Jets. That movie came out DECADES before I was born and I know what it means…. How can they not? It is a classic part of American culture. But, I digress, that is not a part of the Mindset List. The downside of reading this list is that it makes me feel OLD. And I am only ten to twelve years older than these kids…. What is it going to be like in another ten to twenty years? Am I going to be able to relate to them? I guess I will need to worry about that then, not going to do me a lot of good now.

So, here are the items on this year’s list that REALLY got to me (out of nearly 80):

  • Ferris Bueller and Sloane Peterson could be their parents. I am not sure I am willing to believe this. It slightly ruins my sweet view of that movie!
  • As they’ve grown up on websites and cell phones, adult experts have constantly fretted about their alleged deficits of empathy and concentration. WOW.
  • Their school’s “blackboards” have always been getting smarter. This is actually a good thing.
  • Amazon has never been just a river in South America. I wonder which one has a bigger economical impact?
  • Refer to LBJ, and they might assume you’re talking about LeBron James. Does LeBron have a Lady Bird and a big ranch in Texas? I doubt it.
  • All their lives, Whitney Houston has always been declaring “I Will Always Love You.” Oh… no I wanna dance with somebody? Their loss.
  • Life has always been like a box of chocolates. Wow… even more old. I remember seeing this in the theater… Kenwood Mall!
  • The Communist Party has never been the official political party in Russia. This is mind boggling for me!
  • “Yadda, yadda, yadda” has always come in handy to make long stories short. Ha! Love Seinfeld.
  • Video games have always had ratings. Really? I remember that debate… OLD!
  • Chicken soup has always been soul food. Odd.
  • Their older siblings have told them about the days when Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera were Mouseketeers. Super old!
  • Most have grown up with a faux Christmas Tree in the house at the holidays. This is just sad. If I didn’t travel over the holidays, I’d go for a real one!
  • They’ve always been able to dismiss boring old ideas with “been there, done that, gotten the T-shirt.” HA!
  • Music has always been available via free downloads. No Way!
  • Sears has never sold anything out of a Big Book that could also serve as a doorstop. Loved it and the JC Penny one for my Christmas list as a kid!
  • While they’ve been playing outside, their parents have always worried about nasty new bugs borne by birds and mosquitoes. I am terrified to think about what will be around for me to worry about if I ever have kids.
  • Public schools have always made space available for advertising. And I still disagree with this.
  • Charter schools have always been an alternative. WOW.
  • They’ve always wanted to be like Shaq or Kobe: Michael Who? Oh, poor MJ.
  • They’ve often broken up with their significant others via texting, Facebook, or MySpace. This is just wrong, learn to talk to people face to face kids!
  • Frasier, Sam, Woody and Rebecca have never Cheerfully frequented a bar in Boston during primetime. THIS IS TRAGIC!
  • They won’t go near a retailer that lacks a website. Well, I do PREFER it.
  • When they were 3, their parents may have battled other parents in toy stores to buy them a Tickle Me Elmo while they lasted. I remember The Rosie O’Donell show and her giving them away!
  • McDonalds coffee has always been just a little too hot to handle. I remember this law suit… that is freaky.


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