SirDice, I don't really agree that FreeBSD is a very good way to begin learning to use unix. Debian on the other hand allows you to use it as a desktop distro without knowing very much and installs all the necessary drivers and everything for you, so it 'just works', and you can learn to use the command line of a fully capable system from the get-go instead of learning to use the unix command line while simultaneously learning to configure a BSD distro. Just my opinion though.
If everything "just works" you don't really learn something do you?
Spin those braincells and feel the victory when you finally manage to get it working. That's unix.
Linux is for people that hate Windows. BSD is for people that love Unix.
Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.