re featheredface's comment: soft brushes are not all evil, but you should use them with care.
rocks: continue to think in terms of planes and forms instead of blobs of color. I know you are probably trying to do that already.
keep it up, don't get too depressed. when you get really bored of studies do something fun that you enjoy - even if it's not really creative or artistically awesome - and apply what you have learnt so far.
there are many people here who understand what you are going through.