Every year, Beloit College in Wisconsin issues a list to help staff understand the mindset of students. I received a slightly edited version of the first 1998 list (class of 2002) by email, which was as follows:
1.Students starting college this fall were born in 1980.
2.They have no meaningful recollection of the Reagan era.
3.They were prepubescent when the Persian Gulf war was waged.
4.Black Monday 1987 is as significant to them as the Great Depression.
5.There has only been one Pope.
6.They were 11 when the Soviet Union broke apart, and do not remember the Cold War.
7.They have never feared a nuclear war.
8.They're too young to remember the space shuttle Challenger blowing up.
9.Their lifetime has always included AIDS.
10.They never had a Polio shot, and likely, do not know what it is.
11.The expression "you sound like a broken record" means nothing to them.
12.The compact disc was introduced when they were 1 year old.
13.They likely have never played Pac Man, and have never heard of Pong.
14.Star Wars looks very fake to them, and the special effects are pathetic.
15.Blue M&M's are not new.
16.They have always had an answering machine.
17.Most have never seen a black & white TV.
18.They have always had cable.
19.They cannot fathom not having a remote control.
20.Roller-skating has always meant inline for them.
21.The Tonight Show has always been with Jay Leno.
22.Popcorn has always been cooked in the microwave.
23.The Vietnam War is as ancient history to them as World War I and World War II, or even the Civil War.
24.Kansas, Boston, Chicago, America, and Alabama are places, not musical groups.
My son was born in 1995, which would make him class of 2017, I suppose. I wrote a list for him in 1998, and I think it is holding up well so far:
1.Students starting college this fall were born in 1995.
2.They have no meaningful recollection of Queen Elizabeth II.
3.They were toddlers when the Balkan war was waged.
4.The net stock crash of 1999 is as insignificant to them as the 1973 Oil Shock.
5.There has only been one Dalai Lama.
6.They were 9 when the EU broke apart, and do not remember Europe at peace.
7.They have never feared AIDS.
8.They're too young to remember Concorde.
9.Their lifetime has always included Computer viruses.
10.Wearing spectacles as anything other than dressing up makes as much sense as wearing bowler hats to work every day.
11.The expression "CD Quality Audio" means nothing to them.
12.The iMac was introduced when they were 3 years old.
13.They likely have never played Quake, and have never heard of Tomb Raider.
14.Titanic looks very fake to them, and the special effects are pathetic.
15.Blue skin tinting is not new.
16.IP addresses and telephone numbers seem equally arcane to them.
17.They don't understand the distinctions their parents make between computers, televisions, radios and newspapers.
18.Most have never seen a postage stamp.
19.They cannot fathom everyone watching the News at 10 - it is as odd as the concept of newsreels.
20.Commuting to work daily by car for 2 hours is as alien as accounting using paper and ink.
21.Any notion of scarcity of memory, processor speed, storage or bandwidth is on a par with 12 pennies to a shilling.
22.Chips have always been cooked in the microwave.
23.The Gulf War is as ancient history to them as World War II.
24.Cranberries, Fish, Cookies, and Meatloaf are foodstuffs, not musical groups.
25.Owning physical media to play music from it has to be explained to them very carefully, but they still don't get it.