Things I wish I knew as a Freshman: What you ACTUALLY need for an FUS Dorm!

"It's the secret to happiness... Only take what you need" -Adriana Trigiani, Italian-American Author.

Welcome back or welcome to Adventures at Franklin! This post is part 2 of a 3-part series where I share some of the things I wish I knew as a freshman at FUS. If you missed out on part 1 (all about saving money as a student), then check it out here:

In that post, I touched on the fact that upon arrival you should only buy what you absolutely need. I decided to go more in depth on that topic with this post. I remember as an incoming freshman, I really wanted to know what the dorms already had, so I would know exactly what I needed to get for the dorm, and also so I knew what to not bring! Remember people, your packing space is valuable! Bring only essentials so you don't have to carry a lot of bags around. That is the purpose of this post. I touch on exactly what FUS dorms provide, discuss what should be bought right away for dorms, and conclude with possible things to get in the long run. 

Note: This is not a packing list. This post focuses on a list of things for dorm life that can and probably should be bought or obtained upon arrival to campus. Although yes, some things I list below can be brought from home, they can take up space in your bags and can be easily bought once in Lugano. If you're interested in a packing list, then check out The Ultimate Packing List for a very extensive list, or A Student's Travel Advice for Fall for a list more specific to COVID-19 restrictions or 

What FUS dorms already provide (A.K.A things you do not need to bring):

  • Every dorm room will have at least a desk, a chair, a lamp, a small bedside table, a bed, some extension chords, a mirror, a trashcan, a closet (and hangers in the closet). 
  • Every dorm room will also have access to bathrooms. Most dorms will have bathrooms inside the room/apartment, and if you have roommates you'll most likely need to share the bathroom. For Giardino singles, most of the time you'll need to share bathrooms with the floor. 
  • Every dorm room will have access to a refrigerator. Dorms with kitchens will have them in the kitchen. Dorms without kitchens will have the refrigerators in the room. 
  • Every dorm room has access to a laundry room in the residence hall. 
  • If the room has a kitchen, most likely the kitchen will already have basic equipment i.e. spoons, knives, forks, plates, bowls, strainers, cups, pans, pots, cutting boards, ovens, stoves, dining table etc. Some kitchens may have microwaves, but most do not. 
  • 1 trash bag, 1 bar of soap, and 1 roll of toilet paper is also provided upon arrival per person in the room, meaning if you have a roommate, they will receive said items too.
Essentials to have for FUS dorms IMMEDIATELY: 
These items below are essential things that you probably won't be able to survive for a long time without. They are always on my shopping list when I arrive to my dorm, or whenever I have space, on my list of things to bring from home. 
  • Food. We have to eat obviously. 
  • Hand sanitizer. Especially now in a pandemic, hand sanitizer is essential. 
  • Toiletries. The essentials are toilet paper, a towel, toothpaste/toothbrush, shampoo. Other sanitary products can be included too.
  • Trash bags. As I wrote, FUS provides 1 trash bag. The bad is medium sized, and will not last you too long, so getting other trash bags is essential. 
  • Bedding. FUS does provide a linen rental for bed sheets, which I think is a decent option available to students. The positive side is that you will have sheets immediately upon arrival, and the sheets will fit your bed. FUS will not tell you where you are living until the moment you check in, so it's a risk if you bring sheets from home as they might not fit your bed (this happened to me in my 1st year). You will also need to bring or buy a pillow, blanket, and anything else for a bed i.e. comforter, mattress softener etc.  
  • Basic supplies for class/homework. A notebook, something to write with, and a laptop are more than enough for the first few days usually. 
  • Laundry soap/detergent.
  • Essentials for the kitchen (if you have one and plan to use it). My essentials for my kitchen are sponges, dish soap, cooking oil, seasoning (and obviously food but I've already included it above). I remember my 1st year, I had gotten everything I wanted for my kitchen except cooking oil, so I had to ask everyone I knew if I could borrow oil like a moron ๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ˜‚
Possible things for the long run: 
These items are very useful and some are borderline essential as well, but you can get them a few weeks after arrival. Like I wrote in my previous post, if you wait long enough, you can get these types of items during Trash Day, or you can buy them off people who are selling them at the end of the semester. 
  • Broom/vacuum. These are borderline essential. You will have to clean your dorm every now and then. There will be dust, fallen hair, crumbs, and other things lying around your dorm. Pro tip, I've noticed that some laundry rooms have brooms in them. If you do use a broom from the laundry room, please return it so everyone can have continued access to it. 
  • Mop. Again with the cleaning, it's not essential to have a mop, but it definitely makes things easier and cleaner. 
  • Decorations. I like giving the places where I live a homey vibe to them, and decorations are a great way to achieve that! 
  • Headphones. Also borderline essential. If you have roommates, they are essential so you don't disturb your roommates if they want silence, but even if you don't, the walls at most dorms are not very thick, so you can also prevent your neighbors from complaining about noise by using headphones.
  • Ear plugs. On the other hand, if you want to block out the noise, ear plugs are a must. 
  • Blindfold. I like using blindfolds because it lets me sleep if my roommates want to turn on the light and I am sleeping. I also wake up later than my roommates for the most part, so if they want to open the curtains then they won't have to worry about me complaining about the light.
  • Bathmat. Bathroom floors can get slippery, bathmats are an essential in my eyes. 
  • Iron. Not super essential because there are hacks you can do to get rid of creases and avoid using an iron (take a steaming hot shower and hang your clothes up somewhere inside the bathroom and the creases will seek to exist). I've had roommates in the past who would say irons are essential though so that is why I have listed them here. 
  • Laundry basket/reusable shopping bags. I've had a laundry basket my first 2 years, and it was nice because I could just store my dirty laundry there. This past year I used a large ikea shopping bag the entire year and it worked. Obviously reusable shopping bags are good for shopping as well so you can avoid having to pay for bags at the store. 
  • Duct tape/scotch tape. Personally, I think tape is essential. You can use tape to put things on the wall, hold things in place, fix things temporarily.
  • Basic speakers. Another item that swings more towards luxury rather than necessity, but a speaker is nice to have if you have people over. You don't need anything too fancy, but it can be a very nice addition to an FUS dorm.
  • Storage containers. I'm also not a big advocate for storage containers. I just use my suitcases for storage, and the spaces provided (i.e. closet space, drawers on my desk, cabinets in the kitchen etc.) for storage, but some people prefer having storage containers. The one problem is that FUS does not have an official storage unit, so at the end of the school year, you will need to either get rid of the storage containers, or pay a separate storage company (most students use a company called Ciaobox) to store the containers over summer. 
  • More extension chords. There are not too many outlets in the dorms, so you may need to get more extension chords. 
  • Tupperware. Check out my previous post for why Tupperware are a must. They save you money, and promote sustainability. 
  • First aid kit. University students can do dumb things sometimes and get hurt. At the very least, I would say get bandages :) 
  • Rug/carpet. Rugs and carpets for me are not essential, but a lot of my previous roommates have said that carpets and rugs make the dorm feel more like home so more power to them :) 
  • Games. You will have some downtown in your dorm, so it's good to have something fun to lean back on if you have nothing else to do. Card games, board games, video games etc. are great.
  • Anything else you want. At the end of the day, your dorm is just that, your dorm. Craft and shape it into what you want it to be. 
I hope this post was helpful, and saves you some space in your bags! As I said earlier, check out my first post (about how to save money at FUS) if you haven't already, and see you in my next post (tips to achieve academic and social success at FUS), scheduled for release on late Sunday/early Monday August 16th/17th 2020 (I sleep pretty late since I'm on summer break so we'll see ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚). As always, let me know any questions or comments that may have popped up, and take care! 

A presto,

P.S. Obviously there are many things I wish I knew as a freshman, but turns out a lot has already been covered on this blog. I have compiled a list of great posts from this blog that gives more information about life at FUS. I remember feeling so restless and excited as a incoming freshman, so here are some posts to get through if anyone is feeling the same way! 

The Ultimate Packing List: 
Jonathan posted on a packing list specific to COVID-19, but this is the ultimate packing list post that EVERY Franklin student should read. There are many posts from the rich history of this blog that I plan to update, but not this one. This list covers virtually everything, and it will stand the test of time. 

Key Words and Phrases to Know in the Major Swiss Languages 
Switzerland has 4 major languages, so it's very important to know some basic phrases. Check the post out to discover some helpful phrases in Italian, German and French, which may just help you out in the future!
"Every Franklin student knows the value of picking up a few words of the many languages they encounter — and when it comes to getting around in the Italian-speaking region of Switzerland, where Franklin is located, it's definitely useful to have some terms at hand." -Gabrielle, circa 2016

Sustainability on Campus: 
Find out all about public transportation, recycling, shopping more sustainably, and the FUS garden in this post! 

Swiss Cities in Depth: Lugano
If you're gonna go to Franklin, you should learn a few things about
 Lugano :)

Top Five Resources for Prospective Students: 
A great read for anyone looking into FUS! It does need some updating so I will do that before graduating :) The nice thing is that all the links are still working!

All About the LLLS Program:
Did you know you can gain working experience while attending FUS? Find out more in this post! 

10 things I've learned while at FUS:
Some great insights into what life is like as an FUS student.

All About Transportation:
So yes, some things need updating on this post, but most of the information is still super relevant. This provides all the insight into travel via bus, train, and planes. 

Advice about Franklin Q&A:
The first 2 writers of this blog (Jessica and Morgan) graduate, and share their insights to future and current FUS students. 

A Definitive Guide to Course Registration! 
Fun fact, I wrote this post! I offer my 2 cents for course registration/academic plans from my extensive knowledge as a 2-time Academic Mentor. 

Housing 102: The Ultimate (and UPDATED) Guide on FUS Dorms! 

Fun fact, I also wrote this post! A gigantic post that covers pretty much everything you would want to know about FUS dorms from my extensive knowledge gained from giving tours for Admissions for 2 years. 


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