Bracketing like crazy is a good idea, if you take detailed notes.
You need to develop that most important of all photographic tools - your ability to observe and evaluate the scene and the light.
If you take notes, and then closely examine the negatives and resulting prints in light of the information in your notes, you will quickly learn how to interpret your observations, including meter readings. That will enable you to decrease (but not eliminate) bracketing.
I think that it is important to set goals for yourself so that you can know when you are learning. For instance, you may set a goal like "I want to be familiar with exposure using Ilford HP5+ with my camera." When you can get repeatable results 90% of the time you have taken a step forward. The advise of taking detailed notes is great advice. The notes will help you enormously to get to that place where you can walk out of the darkroom with a good looking print. Take notes of what you are thinking as you evaluate a subject. Take more notes when you develop the film and when you make a print. Don't be afraid to make a mistake. Sometimes we can learn as much from a failed effort as from a masterpiece. Look at the photos made by others to use as a yardstick to compare with your own work. Most important, have some fun with the camera.
Excellent - Thank you! Thank all of you. I started out wanting to learn digital photography but something inside said: "You'll learn more about photography going the traditional route with film." So I dropped the digital class and I'm going to focus on film.
Ironically, I had a similar experience with audio. Started out with analog. Switched to digital but it just wasn't the same. About 4 years ago, I switched to all tube gear. Nothing like listening to some good jazz or classical music through single-ended triodes.
As a guitar player for the last 45 years, I can attest to that. All my amps are tube amps. There is nothing like a pair of 6L6's, cranked into overdrive (an effect not for audiophiles but one which guitarists love), making the floor vibrate a little.
"The beauty and profundity of God is more real than any mere calculation"