Congrats man - getting abike is wicked fun.
First off - good choice in taking the MSF class or riding class BEFORE getting the bike. Many times and on many bike forums I have seen new comers get what they want (large CC bike, name brand etc) only to find out they are shit scared to ride it and/or will kill themselves before 100 miles.
The classes are crucial in that it teaches you core things like shifting, lane changes etc. Also they teach you fundamental emergency weaving, stopping and stopping while turning.
Secondly, ATGATT = All The Gear All The Time. Get gear - dont ride without it. Never ride without your gear even to say fill up gas. The saying goes "better to sweat, then bleed". I'm not saying get a full leather track suit but atleast a leather jacket, ankle boots, gloves, and a DOT+Snell helmet is good enough for the street.
For cheap gear check out newenough.com - I purchased everything of mine on there. They have the cheapest gear because its bought in large stock. Also they have THE best return policy ever should something not fit right etc. I bought gloves from them (AlpineStars) and their Large was too tight - so just sent it back and they exchanged it no worries. Alot of MC stores online don't do that.
3rd point. When getting your first bike remember its only your first bike and not your last bike. Your first bike should be a beginner friendly bike that instills confidence in your ability to ride, makes the everyday shifting/braking/scanning ahead routine seemless. My recommendation is to first get a standard type bike (ninja250/500, GS500e) as these bikes are somewhat in between a sports bike (def not for a beginner) and a cruiser (too heavy for a begininer). They weight a whole lot less and riding position is like riding a bicycle. You aren't hunched over reaching the bars. Once you rack up enough mileage on the smaller bikes and you are capable of riding properly - then you can step up to your real bike. Its sorta like getting your license and then getting say a honda civic, you dont go straight to the hennessey viper. Also dont fall for the "its only xxxCC it cant go on the freeway" - I have a 250 Ninja and have gone on the freeway here in SoCal. I might have been smoking crack when i did but it definitely could.
4th Point. Get a used bike from Craigslist. Dealerships just jack the price up to the sky - where as someone on craigslist can be haggled with. If you aren't sure about the mechanical stuff you can get a MC mechanic to come with you. He can essentially do a quick diagnosis and take a ride to check it out.
Short excerpt: Also when buying your first bike leave your ego at the door. I knew a guy who wanted to buy his first bike. So he goes and buys a 600cc Super Sport bike. Now these bikes make about 110hp which if ou think about it is a deadly amount for someone just starting as the throttle is not linear but rther logrithmic. In a few seconds your engine can jump fom 3000rpm to 11000rpm, enough for you to 12 o'clock. He ended up leaving the hobby as the bike scared the shit out of him and being that it was heavier than what he should have started with, he couldn't turn worth a shit and was only good at going straight.
Also check out these sites for great chats, topics, discussions. I joined them too and have found a wealth of info on them.
Any other questions - hit me with a PM.