Meet the Incoming High School Freshman Class

I desire for parents and youth workers to connect with and engage teens in order to help them navigate life and make positive choices. From personal experience, I have found that being able to understand teens – where they are coming from and what they are dealing with – greatly helps. When I speak and write about teen culture, I do so with the purpose of helping parents and youth workers gain insight into the world of teens today.

I love it when I find resources that align with these goals. One of my favorite resources is the annual Beloit Mindset List. “Each August since 1998, Beloit College in Beloit, Wis., has released the Beloit College Mindset List, providing a look at the cultural touchstones and experiences that have shaped the worldview of students entering colleges and universities in the fall.” It’s initial purpose was to provide insight to professors regarding incoming students to help them better relate and connect. Love it.

Here are some highlights from Beloit Mindset List for the Class of 2018:

  • Students heading into their first year of college this year were generally born in 1996.
  • Among those who have never been alive in their lifetime are Tupac Shakur, JonBenet Ramsey, Carl Sagan, and Tiny Tim.
  • leslie_ackerman96During their initial weeks of kindergarten, they were upset by endlessly repeated images of planes blasting into the World Trade Center.
  • Women have always been dribbling, and occasionally dunking, in the WNBA.
  • Parents have always been able to rely on a ratings system to judge violence on TV.
  • Everybody has always Loved Raymond.

I thought it would be fun to think of a few cultural touchstones related to the incoming high school freshman:

  • Students heading into their first year of high school this year were generally born in 2000.
  • They never had to worry about Y2K.
  • Microsoft has always produced gaming systems. The 1st Xbox was released in 2001.
  • They have only seen Boy Meets World in reruns. The final episode aired in May of 2000.
  • Robert Downey Jr. has always been Ironman. Not Charlie Chaplin, a role that earned him an Academy Award nomination in 1992, or Wayne Gale from Natural Born Killers.senior_class_of_2018_blue_round_stickers-r6935b37067374bbeb57bccd1cbcfe8fa_v9waf_8byvr_324
  • They have always purchased music from iTunes (debuted in 2003) to listen to on their iPod (introduced in 2001).
  • For the majority of their lives, the US has had troops engaged in combat in both Afghanistan and Iraq, making roadside bombs and RPGs common terminology for this generation.
  • “Say My Name” by Destiny’s Child, “The Thong Song” by Sisco and “Bye Bye Bye” by N’Sync were in the top songs on the Billboard charts in 2000. Sorry if you now have one of those songs stuck in your head.
  • The Oxford English Dictionary has always been available online (Launched on March 14, 2000).

What experiences or cultural moments would you add to the list?

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