I actually did it.
After taking money out of my first ever pay-cheque to buy the first camera, a Practika fx3, I figured that the best way to really learn photography was to make lots of exposures and take note of the successes and failures. The local camera store ran a B&W darkroom and they developed my film, usually HP-4, and made a contact sheet all for A$1.50.
I was on my way and about 300 rolls of 36 exp later I felt ready to tackle Kodachrome and a home darkroom.
Looking at those old negatives and contact sheets convinces me I went about things the wrong way. I should have done a proper photography course with a good teacher. Ten thousand photographs, many featuring the cat and the dog, are a sign of inefficiency not diligence.