At my high school, the year was split into quarters. Half way through the year (after the second quarter) we had midterms followed by a ten day winter break and back to school until finals that occurred on the last day of the year. With 2,500 people - the same 600 in your grade - the year did not feel that different, so semesters really meant nothing except switching from one elective class to another. The school year felt pretty uniform - I could divide my high school experience up by the year - so, basically in four large chunks. The school year did drag on, if I am being honest. By the last day of school I was always SO over it - the same routine every. single. day. With the same people, and really, no room for change.
With this mindset, I think it is fair to say that I was pleasantly surprised when I came to understand how college school years are set up - by semester. I did not really know what that meant. To me, it seemed more-or-less the same as high school, but with just a longer break. My first semester was good for many things - I did really great in my classes and set a good foundation for myself, learned to become really independent, and got comfortable with the school.
That being said, I still had a lot of things that I wanted to change and was not completely content. I still felt like I had not formed the best relationships with people at school and was a little too attached to friends at home. Being in a program called Freshman Connection, I also had not had the best opportunity to get involved on campus. Not feeling 100% happy with where I was, I was happy to go home for a six-week break, though I was really nervous to go back to school upon the beginning of semester 2.
But, to my surprise, everything started to fall into place.
New classes allowed me to go to Van Munching Hall - the business school - and take a lot more classes geared toward my major. Being a morning person, I liked the timing of the classes so early in the day. My schedule completely flipped from not starting class until 4:30pm to being out of class before 3:00pm. Sorority rush immediately began the first weekend I was back, and I found the sorority I loved which hugely impacted each day. My schedule filled up with fun events and I got to know some of the most amazing girls. I joined College Mentors for Kids, and CHAARG - two organizations that I believe in and have shaped my time so far at UMD.
If you aren't super happy with how things are from the start, do not worry! Things change drastically... it feels like a brand new year. With transfer students and switches all over campus, club fairs re-open and it is practically a new beginning. Now that you are aware of the campus and have figured out study habits and your way around, you will be going in a lot more comfortable and sure of what you are looking for.
If you did love your first semester, then I can assure you second will treat you even better! With the spring season coming around, things will begin to look up. It is the season of new beginnings!