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Experience the Unexpected: Discussion of a Quote from A Room With a View

Illustration by: Angelica Libkind


“Life…is a public performance on the violin, in which you must learn the instrument as you go along.” – Mr. Emerson, A Room with a View by E.M. Forster

We have been raised to plan ahead in life.

“Make sure you get those extra-curricular activities if you want to get accepted into University!”

“Start applying for internships early so you can gain experience for your dream job!”

“Start saving your money to travel to Mexico and Europe!”

I’m not saying these plans or any plans are terrible because plans are necessary in life. What I’m saying is that not everything needs to be planned or organized. Sometimes, the most beautiful moments in life occur when when you least expect it.

The quote above is from a beautiful novel called A Room with a View by E.M. Forster. It is an Edwardian novel where the main character, Lucy, is slowly branching away from the Victorian ideals. She is always told what to do and when to do it. She travels to Italy with her older cousin and follows the plans put in front of her. Except, something unexpected happens and she meets a young fellow named George. They fall in love and she begins to truly experience not only love, but Italy. There is a scene in the book where she falls down a hill full of violets and bumps into George, and in that scene he surprises her with a kiss. That is a moment Lucy remembers vividly from that trip.

Mr. Emerson’s quote personally explained to me that things will go unplanned as life goes on but we must embrace that. When I began University, I thought I knew exactly what my major was going to be and what job I wanted after the four years of school were over. But suddenly, I got lost. I realized I would never be happy as a business major. I knew I wouldn’t live my life to the fullest as a financial advisor. I became lost because I knew I couldn’t express myself through numbers.

That moment of confusion and uncertainty gave me the opportunity to discover more about myself. I discovered that I love literature. I love discussing books with other people about pressing issues in society. For the sake of my happiness I switched my major from business to English, and I’ve never been more happy. This switch was definitely not planned, but it helped me grow and learn. I want to tell you from my own experience that whenever life suddenly turns towards a different and unexpected path, don’t be afraid to say yes. You don’t know where that path will lead you and it’s terrifying, but the outcome may change your life. It also reminded me how sometimes we get lost in our busy lifestyles and we stop noticing the small treasures that surround us. It’s okay to get off track sometimes. The unknown brings this sense of adventure and uncertainty. It allows you to see what you may have never seen before. To hear what you may have never heard. To feel what you may have never felt. To truly experience.


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