College freshmen today have never known a world without "South Park," as noted in Beloit College's annual Mindset List, released every year since 1998.
Beloit, in Wisconsin, releases its Mindset List each year to note things that college freshmen have never lived without, and point out things or people they never lived with. For example, Notorious B.I.G. has never been alive during the average college freshman's life, while Dolly the sheep and the McCaughey septuplets are roughly just as old as incoming first-years.
"They will encounter difficult discussions about privilege, race, and sexual assault on campus," Charles Westerberg, director of the Liberal Arts in Practice Center and a sociology professor at Beloit, said in a news release. "They may think of the 'last century' as the twentieth, not the nineteenth, so they will need ever wider perspectives about the burgeoning mass of information that will be heading their way. And they will need a keen ability to decipher what is the same and what has changed with respect to many of these issues."
The typical college freshman today was born in 1997 or 1998. South Park debuted in August 1997.
A sample of the Beloit Mindset List is below:
- They have never licked a postage stamp.
- They have no first-hand experience of Princess Diana’s charismatic celebrity.
- Email has become the new “formal” communication, while texts and tweets remain enclaves for the casual.
- Color photos have always adorned the front page of The New York Times.
- Cell phones have become so ubiquitous in class that teachers don’t know which students are using them to take notes and which ones are planning a party.
- The airport in Washington, D.C., has always been Reagan National Airport.
- Their parents have gone from encouraging them to use the Internet to begging them to get off it.
- Four foul-mouthed kids have always been playing in South Park.
- Hybrid automobiles have always been mass produced.
- Google has always been there, in its founding words, “to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible.”
- If you say “around the turn of the century,” they may well ask you, “which one?”
- Phish Food has always been available from Ben and Jerry.
- The Lion King has always been on Broadway.
- CNN has always been available en Español.
- Dolly the sheep, The McCaughey septuplets happened when they were born.
- TV has always been in such high definition that they could see the pores of actors and the grimaces of quarterbacks.
- Mr. Jones and Mr. Smith have always been "Men in Black," not their next-door neighbors.
- Their proud parents recorded their first steps on camcorders, mounted on their shoulders like bazookas.
- They had no idea how fortunate they were to enjoy the final four years of Federal budget surpluses.
- Amoco gas stations have steadily vanished from the American highway.