Every year, Beloit College in the US prepares The Mindset List, which lists the cultural influences and landmarks that distinguish those starting at University each year. Unfortunately, good as the Beloit version is, it is rather US-centric (and why not, it’s a US college). So let’s think about what marks out students starting their University life in Britain this autumn:
This year’s freshers are, of course, the last to be born in the twentieth Century(1), so they’re a fairly special bunch. In fact, almost the very definition of millennial.
So, hello, millennials, this is for you!
Family Guy began in 1999. So did Futurama.
There’s always been an O2 in Greenwich, though it hasn’t always been called that.
If you’re American or Canadian, you’ll never have seen Wayne Gretzky play ice hockey, except in old TV clips. So you’ll have no idea who Mike Myers in talking about in those old Wayne’s World movies that crop up on outlying satellite channels from time to time.
Scotland and Wales have always had devolved assemblies
There’s always been filesharing (becasue 1999 was the year napster arrived)
Nelson Mandela had actually ceased being on the politcal stage by the time you were born.
For you, the world has always had more than 6bn people in it.
In Cambodia, the horrors of the Khmer Rouge have never existed (disbanded in 1999)
The world has always contained The Matrix
You’ve never known a world that included Stanley Kubrick; Yehudi Menuhin; George C Scott; Deforest Kelley (Dr McCoy); Screaming Lord Sutch (so you'll never quite understand the point of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party); Oliver Reid; Ernie Wise or Dusty Springfield.
You have never known a world that does not contain Pokemon.
In 1999, the Columbine shooting happened. And Jill Dando was shot on her doorstep, though you’ll have no idea who Jill Dando even was.
(1) A note to all pedants who will say the third millennium began technically began on January 1, 2001.: yes, I know, but most people look at when that all important first digit changes from 1 to 2, so that’s the way we’re going here. Perhaps you might consider a hobby. Or a girlfriend.