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Welcome, Freshmen … and Your Millennial Culture

Posted By Mary W. Quigley On August 26, 2014 @ 12:39 pm In Parenting Part 2 | No Comments

At colleges across the country, a record 21.8 million students [1] are descending on campuses. The incoming freshmen are easy to spot – they’re the ones with parents dragging into the dorms everything that wasn’t nailed down back home.

Class of 2018 [2]What the class of 2018 – most born in 1996 – also brings to campus is a somewhat different worldview from their elders … a.k.a. professors. To help profs avoid “hardening of the references,” Beloit College [3] has released an annual “Mindset List” [4]since 1998. Compiled by authors [5] Ron Nief and Tom McBride, the list offers “a look at the cultural touchstones and experiences” of the incoming class.

>> Don’t Miss These Birthday Freebies and Discounts [6]

Released today, the list highlights the impact of technology [7] on these digital natives, who grew up tethered to one electronic device or another.

  • “Good feedback” means getting 30 likes on your last Facebook post in a single afternoon.
  • Attending schools outside their neighborhoods, they gather with friends on Skype, not in their local park.
  • Yet another blessing of digital technology: They have never had to hide their dirty magazines under the bed.
  • Since Toys “R” Us created a toy registry for kids, visits to Santa are just a formality.


Next week, I will meet the 30 millennials enrolled in my two undergraduate classes. Most are sophomores and juniors, so I decided to check the lists [8] for their classes to keep my references current. Some highlights below, so far as technology:

  • Having a chat has seldom involved talking.
  • They have never seen an airplane “ticket.”
  • A tablet is no longer something you take in the morning.
  • With GPS, they have never needed directions to get someplace, just an address.
  • Java has never been just a cup of coffee.


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And popular culture:

  • Robert De Niro is thought of as Greg Focker’s long-suffering father-in-law, not as Vito Corleone or Jimmy Conway.
  • Benjamin Braddock, having given up both a career in plastics and a relationship with Mrs. Robinson, could be their grandfather.
  • Gaga has never been baby talk.
  • In their first 18 years, they have watched the rise and fall of Tiger Woods and Alex Rodriguez.
  • The Twilight Zone involves vampires, not Rod Serling.


And the “everything old is new again,” category, I can once again use a reference – dropped years ago – when assigning work to my students. Thanks to the Mission Impossible movies [10] (not the TV show [11]), I can say “your mission, should you chose to accept it,” without clueless looks … if I can get them to glance up from their laptops.

Mary W. Quigley’s blog, Mothering21 [12], tackles parenting of emerging adults and beyond.

Photo: elinedesignservices/iStock [13]


Also of Interest


See the AARP home page [18] for deals, savings tips, trivia and more


Article printed from AARP: http://blog.aarp.org

URL to article: http://blog.aarp.org/2014/08/26/welcome-freshmen-and-your-millennial-culture/

URLs in this post:

[1] record 21.8 million students: http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=372

[2] Image: http://blog.aarp.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/iStock_000032697016Small.jpg

[3] Beloit College: http://www.beloit.edu/

[4] “Mindset List” : http://www.beloit.edu/mindset/

[5] authors: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18509637-the-mindset-list-of-the-obscure

[6] >> Don’t Miss These Birthday Freebies and Discounts: http://www.aarp.org/money/budgeting-saving/info-2014/birthday-freebies-and-discounts-photo.html#slide1?intcmp=AE-BLIL-DOTORG

[7] technology: http://blog.aarp.org/2014/08/25/goodbye-desktop-hello-apps/?intcmp=AE-BLIL-BL

[8] lists: http://www.beloit.edu/mindset/2017/

[9] >> Get discounts on electronics with your AARP Member Advantages.: http://discounts.aarp.org/technology/index/uSource/HCTN?intcmp=AE-BL-TECH-DISC

[10] Mission Impossible movies: http://www.themoviedb.org/collection/87359-mission-impossible-collection

[11] TV show: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0060009/

[12] Mothering21: http://mothering21.com/

[13] elinedesignservices/iStock: http://www.istockphoto.com/portfolio/elinedesignservices#4e4dee5

[14] A Millennial’s Hard Look at Grandparents’ Generation: http://blog.aarp.org/2014/08/12/a-millennials-hard-look-at-grandparents-generation/?intcmp=AE-ENDART1-BL-REL

[15] 6 Places Never to Use Your Debit Card: http://blog.aarp.org/2014/05/23/6-places-to-never-use-a-debit-card/?intcmp=AE-ENDART2-BL-BOS

[16] Fight Fraud and ID Theft With the AARP Fraud Watch Network: http://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/fraud-watch-network/?intcmp=AE-BL-ENDART-ADV-FWN

[17] Join AARP: https://appsec.aarp.org/MSS/join/application?keycode=U9ZTPH9&intcmp=AE-ENDART3-BL-MEM

[18] AARP home page: http://www.aarp.org/?intcmp=AE-ENDART3-BL-HP

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