Each year, Beloit College gives 30-year-olds an excuse to complain about how, like, super old they are with its annual “Mindset List.” This generational snapshot is (apparently) intended to provide insight into the historical perspective of entering college freshman. Unfortunately, most of these insights are either hacky puns like “Java has never been just a cup of coffee” or alarming claims like “you sound like a broken record’ means nothing to them” that don’t have the benefit of being particularly true. In honor of this clowning achievement of social science, I present my own, significantly more accurate Mindset List for the Class of 2017, painstakingly compiled over the course of the last 30 minutes.
1. For this generation of entering college students, born in 1995, ALF, Ricky Martin and Queen Victoria have always been dead.
2. There has always been someone telling you to watch The Wire.
3. “iPad” has always been something you hold up at a concert to look like a total dick, not an admission of breast augmentation.
4. The “Spice Girls” have always been professional sex workers and not actual girls bringing you spice.
5. Thanks to global warming, they have zero words for snow.
6. “Eminem” has always been a scowling white man and if presented with an actual M&M an 18-year-old would die of shock.
7. They have never seen a squirrel.
8. The winner of American Idol has always been a centaur.
9. The president has never not been a centaur.
10. Literally everyone is a centaur.
11. They have never heard the phrase “information superhighway” used unironically.
12. “Sexting” has always been something you do with a phone, not a sextant.
13. The Simpsons has never been good.
14. You’ve never been allowed to smoke cigarettes in an airplane, or an Arby’s, or a planetarium, but pretty much anyone will let you smoke weed in their house as long as you let them have some.
15. Tupac and Biggie have always been secretly not dead.
16. A “McFlurry” has never been an Irish snowstorm.
17. They have always had a friend whose mom sold all his Magic cards for, like, 10 bucks at a garage sale.
18. I’m pretty sure they don’t know about JNCOs.
19. College professors have always been able to trick lazy news editors into posting academically-flavored linkbait.