Compared to most of the members here at APUG, I am a relative newcomer to photography. I've been developing and printing myself for only about two years, but before I got into that aspect of it, I shot a lot of film. I didn't really have any knowledge of composition rules or depth of field or anything like that, but when I took my first introductory class at a local community college everything came together for me. I also volunteered to be a darkroom lab assistant so that I could spend more time in the darkroom. I spent more than twice as much time in the darkroom as most of my other classmates and it showed in my prints so that just goes to show that the more you put into it, the better you will become.
I only found APUG about 1-2 months ago. Since that time I have learned so much by reading old threads. At first I had no intention whatsoever of subscribing, but after a week or so I saw how valuable this site really is to me, the knowledge I've gained is worth far more than the $12/year. I, too, didn't understand a lot of what was being discussed for a while (never heard of AZO before) and there are still some things I'm not familiar with, but I am still learning.
Well, I didn't realize I was going to be so long winded.