Graduation. For parents it’s a time of pride. For students, it’s a time to celebrate achievements past and the adult challenges ahead.
As we mark this annual passage for our community’s young people, it’s time for the rest of us…friends, family and coworkers…to examine the mindset of this year’s high school seniors.
For the last 20 years, Beloit College has compiled “The Mindset List” for 18 year olds. It’s an annual compilation of what has always and never been.
Reading the list may help us enjoy commencement and graduation parties with the newest group of young adults.
Highlights from the list:
Among the iconic figures never alive in their lifetime are Victor Borge, Charles Schulz and the original Obi-Wan Kenobi Alec Guinness.
They are the first class born in the new millennium, escaping the dreaded label of “Millennial,” though their new designation—iGen, GenZ, etc. — has not yet been agreed upon by them.
Outer space has never been without human habitation.
They have always been able to refer to Wikipedia.
They have grown up afraid that a shooting could happen at their school too.
People loudly conversing with themselves in public are no longer thought to be talking to imaginary friends.
Afghanistan has always been the frustrating quagmire that keeps on giving.
Same-sex couples have always found marital bliss in the Netherlands.
When filling out forms, they are not surprised to find more than two gender categories to choose from.
Presidential candidates winning the popular vote and then losing the election are not unusual.
They’ve grown up with stories about where their grandparents were on 11/22/63 and where their parents were on 9/11.
They will never fly TWA, Swissair or Sabena airlines.
The Tower of Pisa has always had a prop to keep it leaning.
The Prius has always been on the road in the United States.
They never used a spit bowl in a dentist’s office.
They have never seen a crosstown World Series.
“You’ve got mail” would sound as ancient to them as “number, please” would have sounded to their parents.
A visit to a bank has been a rare event.
Unable to come up with a new tune, Russians have always used the old Soviet national anthem.
Horton has always heard a Who on stage in “Seussical the Musical.”
Robert Downey Jr. has always been the sober Iron Man.
Exotic animals have always been providing emotional support to passengers on planes.
Lightbulbs have always been shatterproof.
Xlerators have always been drying hands in 15 seconds with a roar.
I Love You has always been a computer virus.
Thumbprints have always provided log-in security — and are harder to lose — than a password.
Google Doodles have never recognized major religious holidays.
Chernobyl has never produced any power in their lifetimes.
Donny and Marie who?
There have always been more than a billion people in India.
Films have always been distributed on the Internet.
Environmental disasters such as the BP Deepwater Horizon, and the coal sludge spill in Martin City, Kentucky, have always exceeded the Exxon Valdez oil spill.
The detachable computer mouse is almost extinct.
Israeli troops have never occupied Southern Lebanon.
None having served there, American Presidents have always visited Vietnam as commander-in-chief.
Congratulations, class of 2019. What will the list look like when today’s kindergartners finish high school?