Generation gap evident in Class of 2016

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

There was a lot of excitement in the faces of both students and faculty at the McCook Community College Event Center ribbon cutting this morning, not only for the new facility on campus, but also for the upcoming academic year. As incoming freshmen begin a new phase in their life, it is an appropriate time to take a look at how their lives differ from that of their parents. It is also a time to ponder what the future may hold for them.

For the past 15 years, Beloit College in Beloit, Wisconsin, has published a nonscientific compilation pointing out the assumptions of the latest high school graduates. Kind of a "generation-gap" list in a nutshell. Its original purpose was to help college educators identify both common ground and areas where misunderstanding can occur between incoming freshmen and the adults in their lives. A few of the items on the Class of 2016 list include:

They have always lived in cyberspace, addicted to a new generation of "electronic narcotics."

Bill Clinton is a senior statesman of whose presidency they have little knowledge.

Having grown up with MP3s and iPods, they never listen to music on the car radio and really have no use for radio at all.

A significant percentage of them will enter college already displaying some hearing loss.

They have come to political consciousness during a time of increasing doubts about America's future.

Before they purchase an assigned textbook, they will investigate whether it is available for rent or purchase as an e-book.

The complete list contains 75 items and can be viewed at http://tinyurl.com/6ywxhu

As parents write out those checks for college tuition, books, and room and board, they may be more interested in another list -- Kiplinger's Worst College Majors for Your Career. A college degree is more important than ever, but as tuition continues to increase, unemployment rates for recent college graduates are at scary levels. The thought of going into a mountain of debt for a college education may make some pause.

Kiplinger's list analyses jobless rates and salaries for recent graduates with the 100 most popular majors and they came up with a list of the ten worst values. We warn squeamish parents not to read on.

Top in the list (or is it bottom?) was a degree in Anthropology with a salary for recent grads at about $28,000 and an unemployment rate of 10.5 percent. Also making the list are degrees in Fine Arts, Film and Photography, Philosophy and Religious Studies, and Graphic Design.

If Mom and Dad need more to keep them up at night they can review the entire list at http://tinyurl.com/9mlzcg7

Our advice to incoming freshmen is to find a field of study that you are passionate about, always be willing to learn something new, and continually be agreeable to change. Enthusiasm, preparation, honesty, and hard work will take you far in your college career and beyond.

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