Every year, as a new influx of students enters its hallowed halls, the teeny-tiny liberal arts institution known as Beloit College releases its “mindset list.” The list is designed to condition faculty and staff to the way their students live now and what cultural references to avoid should they want to avoid a lecture hall full of eye-rolls. This year’s rising freshman class, the Class of 2016, were mostly born in 1994, which means people born in the ‘90s can legally purchase alcohol, you guys, for which I’m sure there is some larger correlation between this fact and the ever-increasing, ever-more-irritating influx of ‘90s nostalgia.
That said, no matter your age, this thing will make you feel old as hell. For these incoming freshmen, Blue M&Ms, The Real World, The History Channel, The Santa Clause and DirecTV have all always existed throughout their lifetime (Kids these days, amirite?). And the following people have always been dead: Kurt Cobain, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Richard Nixon, John Wayne Gacy and Selena. And perhaps, the most depressing fact of all, “two-thirds of the independent bookstores in the United States have closed for good during their lifetimes.” Drag.
If you can stomach the creeping reminders of your own aging and eventual mortality, it’s a pretty fascinating list. But the most depressing activity is imagining what future mindset lists have in store for us. “Peanut Butter Jelly Time has always been about more than just sandwiches.” “My Little Pony has always been enjoyed by twentysomething men, not little girls.” “Most of them have never even seen a newspaper.” “They have always known Blue Ivy Carter as Leader of the Free World, not as the daughter of Jay-Z and Beyoncé.”