As a first serious post on this blog, the advice I’ve been giving to freshmen, especially in engineering and computer science:
As a freshman in electrical engineering, I was quite daunted by electronics projects and the like. Heck, I didn’t even really know what a transistor was. I figured that I would be better prepared to work on EE projects after a year or two.
That mindset leads to failure! You will never get anything done!
If you think something is interesting, go do it! Maybe it will be over your head, but maybe it will not. You’ll probably find that it is not as difficult as you think.
This is a lot like the computer purchase problem. It is always tempting to put off purchasing a computer for a few months to wait for the next round of technology, but if you do that you’ll never actually purchase any of it. As much as that might be a good thing, it’s almost the same idea. The major difference is that, while purchasing a CPU now does not make the CPU a year from now any faster, if you spend time working on cool projects now you’ll be that much better of an engineer/hacker/academic.
So go forth, do cool stuff, and have fun!