We all came to the conclusion that you are still learning, and they are right, you have a lot to learn. The one thing that I have noticed with beginners in retouching is that they try too hard to make the photo look different. It's almost a mentality of, the original is bad and it is up to me to, through photoshop, to make it look so different and better that people will be blown away. As you practice, just keep in the back of your mind that subtlety is the key.
And remember, some photos are just bad, and some photographers are just bad and they are, too, looking for photoshop to fix their problems. Photoshop is not there to create a photo but to enhance an already good one.