1. The best place to meet folks is at a venue that hosts activities you enjoy. If you love Jazz, find a favorite spot and visit often. The Destination Guide is a good starting place. If you love playing at playing, then check out some role play sims. Find one where there are actually folks there most of the time; those little green dots on the map will give you a hint.
2. The best place to learn is at one of the schools set up for new folks. New Citizen's Incorporated and Caledon Oxbridge are both long established places. There are many others.
3. Learning how to deal with the viewer is a skill in itself. If you are one of the large majority of Second Life citizens that opt for the Firestorm viewer, stop by the Firestorm Support Region and take some classes; a bonus -- more folks to meet.
4. Decide if you want to spend money on Second Life or "earn your way". While getting a job when you are new is very difficult, you can head over to the Realms which are filled with new folks these days. You can hone your moving around skills (no flying!) and pick up some spending money at the same time.
5. It is NEVER too early to straighten your inventory. If you pick up free items in hunts or as gifts -- or even if you are a buyer, don't just throw everything in the CLOTHES folder. Actually I know plenty of folks that never even get their wearables that far - LOL. Make a plan. Make subfolders and sub-subfolders. Keep things neat as you go along and you will be able to find things when you need them. It is much easier to see what you have to choose from by looking in the "Shoes - Boots - Short Boots" folder than wandering through thousand of items with no system.