Welcome to the first Horizons column written from the relative comfort of my dorm room at K-State. I’m sure it won’t be the last-unless, of course, I flunk out quicker than I expect.

The room is pretty standard. Think every cliched dorm room from every college movie you’ve ever seen and there you have it. Not as small as my friend Tara’s dorm room up at Wesleyan, but not as big as my room at home either.

Fortunately-after a brief stint with a roommate who got a better deal on a place-I have it to myself, which is ideal for movie viewing, music listening, writing, and even (God forbid) studying.

Beginning the tour-working from the door and going clockwise-we have: the video cabinet, mirror on the front; the closet next to it, the acoustic guitar I haven’t yet learned how to play in the corner.

I took my laundry home this weekend, and it’s still in the collapsible hamper that keeps breaking whenever I lift it-the metal frame keeps sliding out from the fabric casing. Yet my brother, who received an identical one for Christmas, has never had any problems with his. Go figure.

I’m thinking of stealing it.

The bed closest to the closet is littered with my suitcase, the books I took from it, and the clothes I wore yesterday -the hamper still being full. Next to it is the small refrigerator I finally got this weekend.

After living for two weeks on unrefrigerated juice and pop, you wouldn’t believe how good chilled Dr. Pepper tastes. Really. One of those simple things people talk about that you don’t miss until it’s gone. And yes, Mom, as of this writing, Dr. Pepper is the only chilled beverage in that refrigerator.

Next to that is the other bed-the one I’ve been sleeping on of late. After that we have the heater, the windows, and the blinds. I’m not sure if they work-I can’t get them to stay open all the way. But on the infrequent occasions they are up, I appear to have a nice view.

Next to that is the trash can, which-right now, at least-bears a striking resemblance to the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

After dumping my Dr. Pepper cans from their box to the refrigerator last night, that box went in on top, then the Domino’s Pizza box that I ordered out for last night-they deliver, which, after living in the country for 18 years, is something I’m still amazed by.

On top is the brown paper sack my grandmother sent cookies and stuff back in with me. She wrote my name on it twice in really big letters, I guess in case it got stolen or something. Which would really be too bad, cause my Grandma’s cookies rule.

Next to the trash can is the computer desk I’m writing this column on. Pretty standard, my computer. I used to think it was good, and that was before my dad informed me this weekend of his plan to buy one with a 1 Gigahertz processor speed-two and a half times as fast as mine here.

It’s sad when your parents become more technologically savvy than you-cuts down on any pitiful bragging rights you have over them.

There’s also a picture frame with two pictures taken of my parents and me when I was-believe it or not-a really cute baby, back before my brother became their favorite instead of me. (No, I’m just kidding-I was never their favorite).

Anyone who’s started to wonder, there is a point to this column. Just be patient. The technical terms for all this are things like “background” and “development.” I call it “filler.” So bear with me.

Next to me is the desk with the television, VCR and my DVD player (when I get it back from my mother -long story). New CDs are on the desk: The Beatles “1” album (say what you will, it rocks); David Gray’s “White Ladder” (OK, but compared to the hype, a disappointment); “Mad Season” by Matchbox Twenty (a lot better than you’d expect, especially if you listen to their dismal first album); and the two best CDs I’ve bought this year, Michael McDermott’s “Last Chance Lounge” and Lifehouse’s “No Name Face.”(Yes, I’m almost done.)

And then we reach the movie posters I put up last night. Starting clockwise from the closet: “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” “The Matrix,” and “Fight Club;” starting directly over the television and extending to the door are “Jerry Maguire,” “Magnolia,” and “American Beauty.”

“Last Crusade” fell down while I was sleeping last night, but I put it back up, and so far, the “poster putty” has held (which is good, because I’m almost out).

The door itself is pretty nondescript. There’s a fire escape plan at the top, similar to those used in hotels, and a smoke alarm stands sentinel above it. Oh yeah, and then there’s a knob and a lock.

The main feature of the door-and the point I’ve been aimlessly building up to-is a poster I got on a trip to Washington, D.C. It’s a picture of a crashing wave in the middle of a dead black background. I think there might be a surfer on the wave, I’m not sure. It’s not the picture that holds the meaning for me. It’s the words.

Written above the wave in small white print is the phrase “Don’t let your fears stand in the way of your dreams.” A simple, obvious phrase, sure, and at the bottom is the company name you’d expect such statements from, although they’re usually on the T-shirts that knee-jerk rebellious kids wear without thought for the words or message: No Fear.

The poster is making its triumphant return to my walls after a long hiatus. Back home, I had it above my bed for two years. But it kept falling down, so I eventually retired it to the poster can in the closet among such classics as “There’s Something About Mary,” “Lethal Weapon 4,” and I think one of the “Scream” movies.

Anyway, it’s back now, and, to steal a line from the movie “The Big Lebowski,” it really “holds the room together.” It successfully encapsulates a life philosophy of mine, one I’ve always possessed if not always followed-I have too many regrets over things I haven’t done or said to pretend I’ve adhered to it.

But I believe it. And I think now that I’m in college, on my own and being forced to take more responsibility than ever before, I think it’s apt that I see it whenever I leave the safety of this room and venture into the world beyond.

It’s a world full of dreams and full of fear-a conflict as old as good versus evil-and when one wins, eventually the other dies.

Although we can hold on to them, we can’t control the path our dreams take. Just as movies rarely end the way you think they do, neither do our lives. And if they do, then it’s a boring movie. Or a boring life.

The one thing we can control in this life is our fear. If we do that, then we maintain a grasp on our dreams as well, no matter how they may twist and turn and evolve along the way.

This is what I think when I lay awake at night, thinking and listening to the dark music of Manhattan police sirens. This is what I think when I leave my room. This is what I think when I look at the poster on my door.

And if it falls down again, this time I’ll hang it back up.

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