Intermission: The Pop Culture Histories of College Freshmen

"Ferris Bueller and Sloane Peterson could be their parents," and other true facts about incoming college freshmen.


"When I was your age..." stories can get tiring pretty quickly, but when executed well they can also be pretty hilarious. Since 1998, Wisconsin's Beloit College has ruled the genre with its "Mindset List," a compendium of facts about the cultural lives of the new crop of freshmen released at the start of each school year. The list is produced by the school's communications director and a humanities professor, but the tone is humorous, not condescending. This year's list, targeted to the class of 2015 (born in 1993) has 75 entries, ranging from politics ("Kim Jong-il has always been bluffing, but the West has always had to take him seriously.") to sports ("Refer to LBJ, and they might assume you're talking about LeBron James.") to film ("Ferris Bueller and Sloane Peterson could be their parents.")

Not everyone will relate to everything on the list, but it's worth reading the whole thing. And if you graduated from college any time since 2002, go back and read the list for your own class year so you can appreciate a time when you were considered hopelessly young and naïve.