Learn familiar content
I initially registered for the typical load of 8 courses (three in French and five in English) and a French language class, but after an incomprehensible first lecture in Networked Control Systems, a dull Distributed Information Systems professor, and a frustratingly easy Energy Storage class during the first few weeks, I brought that number down to 5. The courses I kept were all straightforward with clear expectations while also somewhat interesting and related to my fascination in smart grids. I liked that I could pick out the bad apples from my course list the first few weeks and focus on what I really enjoyed, as I only needed 20 units for the semester.
It’s all about Timing (and luck!)
While most of my friends were ripping their hair out and quietly suffering existential crises in the Rolex library silent zone, I happily cruised through my two weeks of studying for two finals spaced 10 days apart. I didn’t choose courses based on the spacing of finals because the information isn’t available at registration, but two of my courses finished entirely before the new year, and another one only had a presentation instead of a final. My study planning was so perfect that I took a mid-finals break with some friends in Italy for three days, resting my taxed brain in a Castle AirBnB just outside of Sienna.