Class of 2014: Defining Canadian moments

What Canadian experiences have influenced the perspectives of students entering university this year? UBC’s Public Affairs office has prepared a list of influential Canadian experiences for incoming students born in 1992. This list is inspired by the Beloit College Mindset List, which for 12 years has published observations about experiences that have shaped the mindset of students entering US post-secondary institutions.

1 – The first SMS text message was sent in 1992, the year incoming first-year students were born. The web browser Mosaic, credited for popularizing the Internet, was launched the year after. While not Canadian inventions, these developments have profoundly shaped those growing up in Canada.

2- This generation was 10 when Canada’s Research in Motion launched the first Blackberry  smartphone, 12 when Facebook brought them social networking, and 13 when YouTube was created.

3 – There have always been 24-hour news channels like CBC Newsworld and CTV News Net  for  these students. But they would most likely only have heard of Pamela Wallin and Michaelle Jean for their roles in government.

4 – Incoming Canadian students born in 1992 have always paid the GST. But they cannot remember Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, whose government introduced it, being in power.

5 – For most of their lives, they have been able to get to PEI by bridge, which was started the year after their birth and completed in 1997 when they turned five.

6 – Nunavut has been part of Canada since they were seven.

7 – For this generation, Rene Levesque, Barbara Frum and Lorne Green have always been dead.

8 – If they know Canadian actor William Shatner, it is more likely for his role in more than 100 episodes of The Practice and spinoff Boston Legal, and not for exploring space, the final frontier.

9 – When they were born, the Loonie had already been in circulation for five years. The Toonie was introduced when they were four, in 1996.

10 – These students have hazy memories of the Great One playing hockey, perhaps seeing his last game in 1999, when they were seven.

11 – Their parents might have fond memories of the A&W drive through. This group of students grew up eating Timbits.

12 – They were one when Celine Dion and Shania Twain had their first international hits. They likely paid more attention at 10 when Avril Lavigne released her debut album, Let Go, and they were 13 when Lavigne was voted Artist of the Year at the Junos.

13 – These students were nine when they saw the launch of the TV show Degrassi: The Next Generation. But that was already the fourth iteration of the original 1979 The Kids of Degrassi Street. The series had them hearing about real world issues of child abuse, sexual identity, gang violence, self-injury, teenage pregnancy, and drug abuse.