There is a little soph in all of us

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

What is a soph?

At Western, many of us regard those with this moniker as over-caffeinated, sleep-deprived, chick-chick-booming nuts. They’re the ones who go hoarse from incessantly screaming cult-like cheers; the ones who are giddier about playing dress-up than most preschoolers; the ones who feel refreshed when they manage to get a full night’s sleep at least once during O-Week, which is actually a three hour power nap to normal human beings.

As someone who has been a soph, I’ll admit that all these things are true. But even though I’ve shed my bandanna, sweatbands and soph name, I’m still a soph at heart " and so are you.

Think back to your first few days at Western. Having older students around to show you the ropes was likely something that greatly eased your transition to university, even if you weren’t thrilled by the festivities of O-Week.

Having the simplest of questions answered like how to opt-out of your health plan was probably quite helpful. Even if you didn’t meet older students who helped you in this way, wouldn’t it have been great if you had?

We sometimes forget that soph is really a short-form of “sophomore,” a fancy way of saying second-year student. So, for those of us in second year and above, we’re all technically sophs, capable of sharing our knowledge and experience with those beginning at Western.

Being a good sophomore student doesn’t require donning a black ‘cuvvie’ or goofy trucker hat and learning 30 different cheers. It’s about welcoming the next generation of Western students and making them feel at home.

For those of us directly involved in the festivities of O-Week, this means engaging new students in conversation, not just cheers.

Upper-years, even if you feel disconnected from the excitement of O-Week, I ask that you take a moment to direct a lost student to class, remain patient when first years jam the bus pass line-up, and most importantly, be a role model.

Sophs attend training sessions to learn about subjects such as alcohol responsibility, commonly used words that are hurtful to others, the importance of respecting diversity and how to be a good listener. But by second year, shouldn’t we all have some idea about this stuff?

If you’ve survived your first year of university with some good memories you’re already a soph " even if you don’t have a ridiculous name to prove it.

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