Papayas, like all fruit, should smell like they taste when ripe. The skin should be yellow all over (if it is green, it is not yet ripe). If there are dark blotches on the skin, or if there is mould around the stalk, then it is over-ripe.
Do not squeeze a fruit to see if it's ripe - all you will do is bruise the flesh...
Hope this helps - and congrats on trying something new!
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