College Freshman Brings Unique Worldview to School Each year, Beloit College in Wisconsin publishes a list of historical and cultural touchstones that have, and have not happened, during the lifetime of entering freshmen. Subjects range from the Soviet Union to carbon paper. Steve Inskeep talks to Adam Kennedy, a freshman at Beloit.
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College Freshman Brings Unique Worldview to School

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College Freshman Brings Unique Worldview to School

College Freshman Brings Unique Worldview to School

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As college freshman arrive on campus this fall, their professors are trying to get their brains around this latest crop of young people. Beloit College says it wants to help.

Every fall, the Wisconsin college publishes its Mindset List. It's a collection of facts designed to explain to faculty members, just what them whippersnappers are thinking. This year's 18-year-old freshmen were born in 1988, and according to the list this means they remember only two presidents. They've rarely mailed anything using a stamp.

Incoming college freshman have always known that in the criminal justice system, the people have been represented by two separate by equally important groups. In their memory, the Soviet Union has never existed, and is about as scary as the student union.

Now, bear in mind this is a list compiled by older people who are trying to warn other older people about what young people know and don't know. So we've decided to call an actual freshman at Beloit College to check the list. Adam Kennedy took a break from freshman orientation to take our call.

Mr. ADAM KENNEDY (Freshman at Beloit College, Wisconsin): Thank you. Thank you very much.

INSKEEP: You just heard some examples from the list. Have they got it about right?

Mr. KENNEDY: Yeah, they did pretty good. I definitely don't remember the Soviet Union or any, or most of that stuff, anyway. So, yeah.

INSKEEP: You're 18? Are you still 18?

Mr. KENNEDY: I'm 19 actually.

INSKEEP: When you think about the difference between someone like you, who's 19 years old, and the professor, who might be 29 but might also be 59 or even older...

Mr. KENNEDY: Right.

INSKEEP: ...what are things that you think they don't get?

Mr. KENNEDY: Probably a lot of the music they don't get. Simple stuff like that. I think it's probably what changed the most.

INSKEEP: Somebody who grew up in the 60s say, or even a little later, might have argued endlessly about the Beatles and the Stones.

Mr. KENNEDY: They're not exactly Nas and Jay-Z.

INSKEEP: Nas? And Jay-Z?

Mr. KENNEDY: Yeah.

INSKEEP: See, I don't even know who Nas is.

Mr. KENNEDY: (Laughs)

INSKEEP: And I don't think I'm as old as some of your professors might be.

Mr. KENNEDY: Oh, he's just like, he's another one of the great New York rappers. He kind of grew up during the 90s. He had really two good albums, Illmatic and Stillmatic.

INSKEEP: I want to bring up a couple of other items from this list. Um, Madden has always been a game and not a Super Bowl winning coach.

Mr. KENNEDY: Oh, yeah! Definitely.

INSKEEP: And, do you ever watch the television broadcasts on which this former coach gives color commentary?

Mr. KENNEDY: Um, all I know is it was football, but I don't know if it was Monday night or Sunday night.

INSKEEP: I wonder if you might suggest something for us.

Mr. KENNEDY: Okay.

INSKEEP: We're about to end this interview, and we'll probably play a little bit of music afterward, as we often do. Can you suggest a great tune to go out on?

Mr. KENNEDY: Oh yeah. Have you got New York State of Mind?

INSKEEP: New York State of Mind?

Mr. KENNEDY: Yeah.

INSKEEP: Now here's another thing: you're not thinking of the Billy Joel New York State of Mind?

Mr. KENNEDY: No! No!

INSKEEP: Who's New York State of Mind?

Mr. KENNEDY: It's by Nas.

INSKEEP: It's by Nas. Okay, we'll do it. Adam Kennedy, thanks very much.

Mr. KENNEDY: Thank you.

(Soundbite of song New York State of Mind by Nas)

Nas (Rap Artist): (Singing) I never sleep, cause sleep is the cousin of death. I lay puzzle as I backtrack to earlier times, nothing's equivalent to the New York state of mind.

INSKEEP: That's Adam Kennedy, he's a freshman at Beloit College in Wisconsin.

(Soundbite of song New York State of Mind, by Nas)

Nas: (Singing) New York state of mind. New York state of mind...


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