I have been seeing lots of groups walking my university campus the past few weeks., and a good amount of students with parents looking at maps and asking where the mechanical engineering building is located, and posts on Facebook from parents who are sad (far fewer willing to post any gladness) at their first child heading off to college.

Beloit College always gets some online buzz at this time of year when it posts its “mindset list” of historical and cultural references that incoming frosh will or will not have grown up knowing.

The Class of 2019’s 50 factoids about them include:

  • They have never licked a postage stamp.
  • They have grown up treating Wi-Fi as an entitlement.
  • The announcement of someone being the “first woman” to hold a position impressed their parents more than them.
  • The Lion King has always been on Broadway.
  • TV has always been in high-definition.
  • Their first steps were recorded on camcorders.
  • Harry Potter, Ron and Hermione are their lifelong buddies.
  • There has always been Google.
  • Email is “formal” communication. Texts and tweets are the casual way to connect.
  • They grew up with South Park.
  • Color photos have always adorned the front page of The New York Times. 
  • Cell phones are ubiquitous, even  in class, and teachers don’t know which students are using them to take notes and which ones are on Facebook.
  • Splenda has always been a sweet option in the U.S.

On the Beloit website, they say the list can be used as ” icebreakers for counselors and professors” but I can’t imagine a good conversation growing from these little glimpses of generational differences. Any suggestions?