Incoming Freshmen: The Mindset of the Class of 2016

Twenty years ago around this time, I left the gritty urban landscape of Baltimore City for the significantly smaller (and infinitely more small-townish) Beloit College in Beloit, Wisconsin (famous for dairy products, the anthropologist upon whom Indiana Jones is based, turtle-shaped Native American burial mounds, a giant Hormel Chili can, and the Mindset List).

I was an English major and studied with some incredibly smart people as my professors (in and out of the English department) and fellow students with whom I am still close (thank you, Facebook). My advisor at Beloit was Professor Tom McBride. To this day we remain in touch, which means that the minute that the [in]famous Mindset List hits print and pixel, I hear about it and read what Tom and his Beloit cohort Ron Nief have listed as the historicultural background and collective mentality for the year’s incoming freshman.

I graduated from Beloit in 1996, before there was a Mindset List (and accompanying book). Undoubtedly had there been a list for my class, those alumni twenty years my senior would have felt exactly as I feel now when I read the Mindset List — old, very old, and also fortunate, very fortunate to have gone to college and to have done so at a place I loved and that stays with me in the form of still-quirky people, skills and interests and curiosities, and of course the annual Mindset List. That said, enjoy learning about where the class of 2016 is coming from in terms of headspace, and try not to feel too old while doing so. Oh, and take heart, at least we had bound encyclopedias and tan M&Ms.

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