For the past 15 years, Beloit College has published an annual Mindset List to help remind professors that cultural references familiar to them might draw blank stares from college freshmen. Here are highlights from each of those lists:
2012 List (Class of 2016)
— A significant percentage of them will enter college already displaying some hearing loss.
— There have always been blue M&Ms but no tan ones.
2011 List (Class of 2015)
— They "swipe" cards, not merchandise.
— Refer to LBJ and they might assume you're talking about LeBron James.
2010 List (Class of 2014)
— Few in the class know how to write in cursive.
— They never twisted the coiled handset wire aimlessly around their wrists while chatting on the phone.
2009 List (Class of 2013)
— The Green Giant has always been Shrek, not the big guy picking vegetables.
— They have never used a card catalog to find a book.
2008 List (Class of 2012)
— They never heard an attendant ask, "Want me to check under the hood?"
— Soft-drink refills have always been free.
2007 List (Class of 2011)
— They have grown up with bottled water.
— They drove their parents crazy with the Beavis and Butt-Head laugh.
2006 List (Class of 2010)
— Smoking has never been permitted on U.S. airlines.
— "Google" has always been a verb.
2005 List (Class of 2009)
— They don't remember when "cut and paste" involved scissors.
— They never had the fun of being thrown into the back of a station wagon with six others.
2004 List (Class of 2008)
— "Here's Johnny!" is a scary greeting from Jack Nicholson, not a warm welcome from Ed McMahon.
— Svelte Oprah has always dominated afternoon television; who was Phil Donahue anyway?
2003 List (Class of 2007)
— "Ctrl + Alt + Del" is as basic as "ABC."
— Gasoline has always been unleaded.
2002 List (Class of 2006)
— The "evil empire" has moved from Moscow to a setting in some distant galaxy.
— This generation has never wanted to "be a Pepper too."
2001 List (Class of 2005)
— Thongs no longer come in pairs and slide between the toes.
— IBM Selectrics are antiques.
2000 List (Class of 2004)
— Watergate is as relevant to their lives as the Teapot Dome scandal.
— They have never used a bottle of "White Out."
1999 List (Class of 2003)
— "Cats" has been on Broadway all their lives.
— The term "adult" has increasingly come to mean "dirty."
1998 List (Class of 2002)
— They have likely never played Pac-Man, and have never heard of Pong.
— "The Tonight Show" has always been with Jay Leno.
Source: Beloit College Mindset List (http://www.beloit.edu/mindset )