Yeah formal art / design education is something I never had when I started. Couldn't recommend it enough. I started using AE but after a year or two realised my work was terrible. I didn't understand any design principles or any animation principles! After going to uni I learnt a hell of a lot but they kind of skipped the design part.
Its always great to be in that environment when people can help each other. So some class would be great!
Anyways this is not about me! Good luck and looking forward to hearing which path you take!