When there’s a will there’s a way

My informant does not know where it originated because it is used so commonly, however she said it is especially important to her because it has applied to multiple aspects of her life.  This is a proverb that Sumner lives by, and often gives as advice to other people.  The audience always varies because she uses it so constantly.  Whenever someone is expressing to her that they want something, Sumner will tell them “when there’s a will, there’s a way;” meaning if they want something badly enough, there is always a way they can get it, they just have to get creative!  Sumner interprets this to mean exactly what it says.  She believes there is always a solution and that “there is no shame in doing what it takes to get the job done, as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else.”  Additionally, she said that it goes hand in hand with advice her father would always give her; “if you want something, you have to take it, because no one’s gonna give you anything in life.”

Sumner partially credits the importance of this proverb to one specific instance, when she was applying to the University of Southern California.  USC tried to make her a spring admit, claiming she was as qualified as the fall admits, but there was not enough room.  Sumner said, “I wanted to come in the fall and I came in the fall!”  What kept Sumner motivated was that she was convinced that one desk in a classroom really would not make a difference, especially when half of the kids would not go to class anyway.  Sumner definitely had the “will” to go to school in the fall, she just had to focus on, and create a “way” to make it happen.  Sumner contacted at least one counselor at the school twice every week.  She would continually ask if there were any spaces, if any spaces had opened up, if there was anything else she could be doing, and if there was anyone else she should be talking to.  She just proved to them that she really wanted to be there, and then figured they would let her in.  Sure enough, as soon as a spot opened up, she was the first to be admitted.  Her persistence was the “way” in this scenario.  This incident just reinforced in her mind that when there is a will, there is most definitely a way.

I interpret this proverb to mean that if you are persistent, ambitious, and show determination, you will be able to achieve your goals if they are within reason. However, you must be sure not to harm others or sacrifice your own character to get there.  This proverb must be kept in perspective with what is important.  You must stop and think about what you are willing to sacrifice to get what you want, how badly you want it, and proceed from there.  All in all, it encourages people to take fate into their own hands and be proactive, rather than rely upon other situations and people and just accept the results.