Tuesday, November 6

The Mindset List

For the last ten years, Benoit College in Wisconsin hands out what they call "The Mindset List," which not only gives the faculty and staff a whiff of that mortal coil, but it also gives gives them an idea of the student body's perspective.

I think the list is a great indication of culture--the things we use everyday, material and very tangible, i.e., "You can always take the MRT to Makati to avoid traffic." Or, "It's hot/I'm bored, let's go to the mall." There's also how we organize ourselves into our own little tribes, i.e., "What's the need for a stamp when there's always e-mail? Or better yet, everyone is just a text away or I can always look them up in Friendster Facebook/Multiply/MySpace." One can also take into consideration the various ways we celebrate and amuse ourselves: "I don't like this guy's moustache, let's start a massive campaign to vote him off the show."

When I started teaching, Friendster was just starting and it was a hip new thing. I was only a few years ahead of my students, and I was able to pass myself off as one on the first day of class. Last March, the first bunch of kids I had in class graduated. They're about as old as the clothing brand Bench, born the year the first EDSA happened. But as you go along, it becomes more and more difficult to engage people. Cultural references during discussion just fly over their heads and you get eyes glazed with boredom and incomprehension. In a few days, I'll be off again to meet a bunch of kids for whom the Internet has always been there and music is something you download. The Eraserheads and the Apo Hiking Society only existed in tribute and best of albums. Water is something you buy in a bottle. Research means typing something up in the Google search bar.

I wonder how much different this is from the time I was in college, when Martial Law really was something you just read in history books. The divide between generations has always been there. It's not just a matter of technology becoming obsolete. Heck, I wrote my papers in a typewriter, complete with white correction fluid. I lived, my professors lived through it, albeit shaking his head with disappointment at some girls who thought that Les Miserables has always been on Broadway and Lea Salonga was in it and that The Little Prince was something that you could quote in a beauty contest. For that, he made us read the unabridged version by Victor Hugo AND suffer through an oral exam on Antoine L'Exupery. He must have known that we thought him an old fogey. And he was, anyway.

Sooner rather than later, you will become obsolete, a fossilized relic from another era. It's one thing to come inside the classroom armed with this bits of knowledge. But how will it help, really?

Sabi nga ni Captain Planet, knowing is just half the battle.

The other half siguro, you just drink na lang.

1 comment:

wltrrbls said...

Hey girl!

Isn't it worrying that people just a couple of years younger than us have never even heard of McGyver?