I asked my students what their favorite books, movies, and colors were and whether they had a job. These were some of the more frequent answers, in order of popularity:
Favorite Books: The Kite Runner (overwhelmingly!), the Harry Potter series, the Twilight Series, Lord of the Flies, and Catcher in the Rye. Amazing how some of those books you had to read in high school, like LotF and CitR and sometimes Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, and To Kill a Mockingbird, always make it on students’ lists. There is some value to teaching classics after all.
Favorite Movies: 10 Things I Hate About You, The Wedding Crashers, The Bucket List, Fight Club, Moulin Rouge, The Godfather. I’m happy that Braveheart, the overwhelming favorite of my ENG 101 group in 2002 when I started teaching, made it on the list for only one out of my 48 current students. I’m always surprised that people tend to list very recent films as their favorites, but I’m glad Fight Club is a modern classic.
Colors: Green, Blue, Pink. This is a shift from 2002 too– the whole concept of girls liking pink is a fairly recent cultural phenomenon from what I can tell. Only a few girls I knew growing up would admit to liking pink.
Jobs: More than 9/10 students have at least one part time job, and at least 2/10 have two PT jobs (on top of a FT course load)… typical of the socioeconomic class represented in state schools. I had a PT job for my sophomore-senior years of college, and edited the literary magazine, and I still wonder how I found the time. I guess coming right off the killer regime of high school, time management seems easier to them. Coming off the “do things pretty much when you feel like it” regime of grad school, time management now seems difficult to me.