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Sophomoric (adj.) /sof-uh-mawr-ik — “suggestive of or resembling the traditional sophomore; intellectually pretentious, overconfident, conceited, etc., but immature” (Random House/Dictionary.com)

Advanced debaters — what kind of person are you in the debate community? Are you helpful and instructive, humble and attentive, and always caring for newer students and those who ask questions? Or do you more often brag about your ability to run complicated theoretical arguments, acted shocked when someone doesn’t know what a “double turn” or “parametrics” is useful for or even is at all, and hang out with only other people at your level?

There’s a great maxim that C.S. Lewis mentions in reference to his instructors at Oxford.: “I found, as always, that the ripest are kindest to the raw”. Whenever a new student has a true appetite for learning and asks questions, the advanced (ripe) should always be kindly helping them and pointing them to resources that can improve their work. Not answering “I can’t believe you don’t know that,” or “buy a book,” or “google it” or other chiding remarks. An advanced debater should also always be approachable and even approaching newer students to pass on knowledge.

Here’s a non-debate example: I’ve been playing music for a long time but am an amateur. Any time I am playing with a group of professionals, the most experienced are always very kind in showing me new techniques, giving me a chance to play, and talking to me about it afterwards. The “jocks” of music do not do this and make me feel worthless. Nobody actually likes them though… they are all busy jockeying amongst each other, but none are truly enjoying what they are doing.

Everyone is at a different stage in ALL types of knowledge and abilities. Just be content with where you are, and if you are one step ahead of someone else, pull them along with you.

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