I am very happy that you have expressed an interest in learning a unique language. China's growing economic and cultural influence throughout the world is impressive. And the need for Chinese speakers in this country is increasing tremendously. Chinese is my native language, I understand many of the difficulties involved in teaching and learning such an unusual language. Here's some advice for you as we begin this exciting year of study.
BE PATIENT! Many of the sounds and tonal inflections will be totally new to you. It takes time and practice. I will help you.
PRACTICE! It's important to practice on a daily basis. You'll learn new words and forget them. But if you stick with practicing, you'll be surprised how much you will learn.
BE FEARLESS! Part of the fun of studying Chinese is all of the "interesting" sounds (tones) you will learn. NEVER be afraid to speak and make mistakes. That's how we all learn.
HAVE FUN! Studying Chinese is fun. It's totally different and when you can successfully communicate with someone, you will feel great!