After a few minutes he said "my plane" and asked me to "put on the hood" (for those who don't know, you wear a hood so you can't see anything but the instruments). He whipped and flipped the plane around for a minute. Then he said "your plane"... so I looked at the instruments, found that I was in a vertical dive. I cut the throttle, centered the stick, and kicked opposite rudder. The plane leveled out.
He commented "that was an ok performance but you could be better". I asked him if this was standard testing for a first-time VFR pilot (aka newbie). He was upset. He thought I was an instrument pilot and already had my VFR license.
The hardest part about flying the actual plane was steering the plane on the ground. You do this with your feet and I had no practice at that.
Besides the simulator I also have a bookcase full of flying books and videos, from mountain flying to flight engineer. I HIGHLY recommend https://www.amazon.com/Stick-Rudder-Explanation-Art-Flying/d...
For a real education read https://www.flyingmag.com/tags/i-learned-about-flying-from-t...
Also, I don't know if the FAA program still exists but they used to encourage pilots to visit the tower so you could see the kind of pressure they are under. I spent many hours trying to sequence planes and clearing them for landing (talking to myself, not the actual planes). Those guys are AMAZING. You can't imagine how hard it is to keep track of a dozen planes you can't see, keep them in order, talk on the radio, and do it flawlessly for hours at a time.
Later I flew a CAP-10B (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mudry_CAP_10)... Flying a Cessna 152 is like riding a bicycle while drunk. It "responds" with a LOT of lag. Landing the Cessna is like wrestling a soft mattress down a flight of stairs. Flying a CAP-10B is like driving a Formula-1 racing car. It responds to your heartbeat in a heartbeat. I landed the CAP-10B "on the numbers" on the first try. There is no comparison.