Ferris Bueller Could Be Their Dad: The Mindset List For The Class of 2015

The Mindset List is a list issued every fall by Beloit College that tries to contextualize the world according to the entering college class. While a fun and lighthearted look at generational difference, for those of us actually teaching college freshmen, the Mindset List is also a helpful tool when thinking of ways to try and make dusty academic material a little more exciting and accessible. Whether those efforts are successful or not is always another story.

Here’s the Mindset List for the Class of 2015

Andre the Giant, River Phoenix, Frank Zappa, Arthur Ashe and the Commodore 64 have always been dead.
Their classmates could include Taylor Momsen, Angus Jones, Howard Stern’s daughter Ashley, and the Dilley Sextuplets.

1. There has always been an Internet ramp onto the information highway.
2. Ferris Bueller and Sloane Peterson could be their parents.
3. States and Velcro parents have always been requiring that they wear their bike helmets.
4. The only significant labor disputes in their lifetimes have been in major league sports.
5. There have always been at least two women on the Supreme Court, and women have always commanded U.S. Navy ships.
6. They “swipe” cards, not merchandise.
7. As they’ve grown up on websites and cell phones, adult experts have constantly fretted about their alleged deficits of empathy and concentration.
8. Their school’s “blackboards” have always been getting smarter.
9. “Don’t touch that dial!”….what dial?
10. American tax forms have always been available in Spanish.
11. More Americans have always traveled to Latin America than to Europe.
12. Amazon has never been just a river in South America.
13. Refer to LBJ, and they might assume you’re talking about LeBron James.
14. All their lives, Whitney Houston has always been declaring “I Will Always Love You.”
15. O.J. Simpson has always been looking for the killers of Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman.
16. Women have never been too old to have children.
17. Japan has always been importing rice.
18. Jim Carrey has always been bigger than a pet detective.
19. We have never asked, and they have never had to tell.
20. Life has always been like a box of chocolates.
21. They’ve always gone to school with Mohammed and Jesus.
22. John Wayne Bobbitt has always slept with one eye open.
23. There has never been an official Communist Party in Russia.
24. “Yadda, yadda, yadda” has always come in handy to make long stories short.
25. Video games have always had ratings.
26. Chicken soup has always been soul food.
27. The Rocky Horror Picture Show has always been available on TV.
28. Jimmy Carter has always been a smiling elderly man who shows up on TV to promote fair elections and disaster relief.
29. Arnold Palmer has always been a drink.
30. Dial-up is soooooooooo last century!
31. Women have always been kissing women on television.
32. Their older siblings have told them about the days when Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera were Mouseketeers.
33. Faux Christmas trees have always outsold real ones.
34. They’ve always been able to dismiss boring old ideas with “been there, done that, gotten the T-shirt.”
35. The bloody conflict between the government and a religious cult has always made Waco sound a little whacko.
36. Unlike their older siblings, they spent bedtime on their backs until they learned to roll over.
37. Music has always been available via free downloads.
38. Grown-ups have always been arguing about health care policy.
39. Moderate amounts of red wine and baby aspirin have always been thought good for the heart.
40. Sears has never sold anything out of a Big Book that could also serve as a doorstop.
41. The United States has always been shedding fur.
42. Electric cars have always been humming in relative silence on the road.
43. No longer known for just gambling and quickie divorces, Nevada has always been one of the fastest growing states in the Union.
44. They’re the first generation to grow up hearing about the dangerous overuse of antibiotics.
45. They pressured their parents to take them to Taco Bell or Burger King to get free pogs.
46. Russian courts have always had juries.
47. No state has ever failed to observe Martin Luther King Day.
48. While they’ve been playing outside, their parents have always worried about nasty new bugs borne by birds and mosquitoes.
49. Public schools have always made space available for advertising.
50. Some of them have been inspired to actually cook by watching the Food Channel.
51. Fidel Castro’s daughter and granddaughter have always lived in the United States.
52. Their parents have always been able to create a will and other legal documents online.
53. Charter schools have always been an alternative.
54. They’ve grown up with George Stephanopoulos as the Dick Clark of political analysts.
55. New kids have always been known as NKOTB.
56. They’ve always wanted to be like Shaq or Kobe: Michael Who?
57. They’ve often broken up with their significant others via texting, Facebook, or MySpace.
58. Their parents sort of remember Woolworths as this store that used to be downtown.
59. Kim Jong-il has always been bluffing, but the West has always had to take him seriously.
60. Frasier, Sam, Woody and Rebecca have never Cheerfully frequented a bar in Boston during primetime.
61. Major League Baseball has never had fewer than three divisions and never lacked a wild card entry in the playoffs.
62. Nurses have always been in short supply.
63. They won’t go near a retailer that lacks a website.
64. Altar girls have never been a big deal.
65. When they were 3, their parents may have battled other parents in toy stores to buy them a Tickle Me Elmo while they lasted.
66. It seems the United States has always been looking for an acceptable means of capital execution.
67. Folks in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have always been able to energize with Pepsi Cola.
68. Andy Warhol is a museum in Pittsburgh.
69. They’ve grown up hearing about suspiciously vanishing frogs.
70. They’ve always had the privilege of talking with a chatterbot.
71. Refugees and prisoners have always been housed by the U.S. government at Guantanamo.
72. Women have always been Venusians; men, Martians.
73. McDonalds coffee has always been just a little too hot to handle.
74. “PC” has come to mean Personal Computer, not Political Correctness.
75. The New York Times and the Boston Globe have never been rival newspapers.

Photo from Alla_G via flickr.


christopher murray

item 76....they've never had to scramble looking for a pay phone...then hope someone had a dime to make the call.

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson6 years ago

no mention of Harry Potter? Im shocked

Jamie Clemons
Jamie Clemons6 years ago

I feel sorry for the new generation.

Judith Corrigan
Judith Corrigan6 years ago

I feel old and I am only 33!!

K s Goh
KS Goh6 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Amanda M.
Amanda M6 years ago

David A, you'd like the statement I said to my husband when we found out we were expecting our first child (my husband was a hellion as a teenager). I told him, "It's payback time for all the s#$% you used to do!"

Robert O, I'm with you! I remember all that and more! We also STILL use many of the items you mentioned-I have a stereo that plays records as well as cassettes, we still have VCRs and tons of tapes for them, my parents still have a rotary phone in their house that works (hey, why replace it when it functions just fine?), and I'll take an answering machine over voicemail any day-you can have FUN making up messages for it! All those and many more!

I also understand a lot of the points on the list as well. Either that means I'm keeping up okay, or I'm just stuck in the middle as far as generations go.

Dominic C.
Dominic C6 years ago

Ferris Bueller is about making your own choice, there's no right and wrong answers - its just how everyone forms their impressions.

Ryder W.
Past Member 6 years ago

well if they're referring to names, then Jesus is definitely true. a lot of hispanics.

Mohammad? no...most parts of the united states are not that integrated yet. never went to school with a muslim or anyone of arabic descent.

it should have said "Krishna" instead. we went to school with a lot of indian/hindu kids. Bollywood movies at birthday parties =]

most of this article confused me anyway =P i thought "Don't touch that dial!" had something to do with phones.

3 more things they should add:

1. harry potter has always been saving the wizarding world.

2. microwaves have always been our main method of cooking.
(the other day i ate cold leftovers because our microwave died...and then my mom asked why i didn't heat it up in the oven. i had no idea that ovens could be used to re-heat things! it was a brilliant epiphany)

3. cigarettes have always been socially unacceptable and uncool.

Kathleen L.
Kathleen L6 years ago

Substitute teaching in the high school has taught me to ALWAYS keep my mouth shut, because they never get my allusions. Sigh. Nothing is permanent, especially not hair dye...

Tami Mendoza
Tami Mendoza6 years ago