The Beloit Mindset List, created at Beloit College in 1998, is an annual publication that aims to reflect the world-views of the year’s entering college class. The appeal for this list is widespread, mainly because it’s helpful for those who wish to gain a better grasp of what our generation is all about: teachers, advisors, and even potential employers.
Ours is a generation largely disillusioned with the American Dream. We’ve grown up accustomed to recession and an ever-increasing unemployment rate. Gone are the days when a college education was a definite guarantee of a good job, and concerns over student debt are steadily mounting. These factors have led to a generation of young adults that are much more anxious and risk-averse than their predecessors, which generates criticism because we’re not doing things the way they used to be done. The problem is, we inherited a different world. Jeffrey Jensen Arnett, a research psychologist at Clark University, says this about Generation Y: “I think part of the answer is that it does take longer to grow up than it used to…Older adults are still comparing them to a standard that really is obsolete and really not fair anymore.”
Ron Nief and Tom McBride, the authors of the Beloit Mindset List, have expressed their belief that generation gaps have always needed glue. That glue is what they aim to provide by making us aware of our differences while clearing up damaging misconceptions about the younger generation. Like many aspects of life, generations aren’t better or worse than each other, just different. Those differences can make it hard to relate to one another, which is challenging when there’s a generational gap between you and a professor or a potential employer. Awareness of mindset differences and what kind of impression you give off to the preceding generation is the glue that will connect you.
All-in-all, I’m proud of my generation. I’m proud of all the young adults paying their own way through college, which is more expensive than ever. I’m proud of the importance my generation places on family and work/life balance. I’m proud of how technologically savvy we are, leading to a curious and innovative generation. I’m also proud of the renewed focus on balancing ambition with finding what you love to do, rather than focusing on just making the most money possible. Dear Generation Y – be confident! There is such a thing as being too cautious if you’re never putting yourself out there. Dear Generation X – You helped raise us to be totally awesome, thanks! We’re all in this together.
Check out the most recent Mindset List.
Posted by Deirdre Newton, Career Services Assistant