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Am I using the expression "A different kettle of fish" correctly in the below example sentence?

The first semester subjects were easy to learn. But the second semester was a different kettle of fish.

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Yes. You are absolutely correct in your usage.
Idiom Definition 1

"kettle of fish"

an awkward, difficult, or bad situation;
a muddle;
a mess

Idiom Definition 2

"kettle of fish"

a state of affairs;

a matter under consideration

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