Tag Archives: Nancy Gibbs

Salsa and blue Jell-o

Every year since 1998, Beloit College has published a “Beloit College Mindset List”.  I love it because it reminds me how old I am—well, actually, that isn’t my favorite reason—and how those events and things I believe are part of our culture don’t even appear as a blip in the minds of seventeen- and eighteen-year-olds entering college.

I read this list every year—here’s the link to the latest list  http://www.beloit.edu/mindset/

My favorite list came out a few years ago.  I first heard about it in the September 21, 2009, issue of TIME magazine when Nancy Gibbs wrote this:  The Mindset List is a “dictionary of all the deeply ingrained cultural references that will make to sense to students of the incoming class. This year’s freshmen were typically born in 1991.  That means, the authors explain, they have never used a card catalog to find a book; salsa has always outsold ketchup; women have always outnumbered men in college; there has always been blue Jell-O.”

I remember hours spent going through card catalogs when I was in college.  And, when I was in college, men outnumbered women three-to-one.  Of course, that did little for me, a humanities major, because most of these guys majored in agriculture or engineering, fields pretty much closed to women way back then.

Think of the phrases students today don’t really understand:  both dial and hang up the phone, a broken record.   In the future, it may be these will be explained in books that tells us what “the whole nine yards” means. 

Both my husband and I have Kindles and will not return to reading real books.  He also uses salsa on his scrambled eggs.   And I prefer red Jello although I’ll eat any color of M&Ms.

What changes do you see around you?  What do you remember that today’s kids know nothing about?   I’d love to hear from you.