There is a bit of nuance when it come to “player skills” and “character skills.”
The former is entirely within your ability to control and is based heavily on knowledge, experience, and the capacity to micromanage a bit.
The latter is dependant on how long you have played the game (or how much money you have dumped into it) and what skills you train within a given period of time.
Severely lacking in either will result in you being stomped on by a veteran.
So right now… yeah, you will be kicked around quite a bit.
But I will argue that as long as you “play right” this won’t be much of an issue in the long run.
So what do I mean when I say “play right?”
Simple: Take a step back and understand your limits… what you realistically can and cannot do.
You CAN strap yourself into a Tech 1 Frigate, load it up with Tech 1 modules, and take a stroll through low-sec.
You CAN go into a Faction Warfare complex or an asteroid belt and see if you can fight something around your size… or run if things get too hot.
You CAN take on certain ships regardless of how skilled the pilot is player and character-wise. This is because some ships and/or tactics have an inherent weakness to other ship classes and/or tactics. However, only player experience will tell you what these ships/tactics are.
You CAN talk with others and see if you can join a group. Not only is there safety in numbers, but they may also teach you some things (directly or indirectly) that you did not know before.
You CAN be a part of a group and make a difference by acting as “hero tackle” (see: applying a warp disruptor on a target to prevent immediate escape even though you will most certainly die) or as “support” (see: Electronic Warfare, Remote Reps, scout, etc).
You CANNOT compensate for your relative weakness either in character or player skills by using “high-end” equipment.
(NOTE: Technically you can, but you won’t be using it to its full potential which makes the money spent kinda pointless).
You CANNOT use “high-end” equipment right away and instead have to make do with the equipment you have until you gain enough character skills.
(NOTE: This is a blessing in disguise… if you have ever taken a motorcycle class they will talk about how the risk of crashing is highest when you start, decreases as you gain experience, and then briefly increases again before dropping further… same idea when it comes to ship and equipment mastery in EVE. You don’t want to use that sexy stuff until after you have gotten past that second “hump”).
You CANNOT fly big honkin ship against multi-year veterans and expect the results to be… satisfying. Understand that as ship size increases, the needs of character skill and teamwork with others become much, MUCH higher. With smaller ships, there is more “wiggle room” in terms of how effective you can be with lacking skills and experience.
TLDR: Keep flying different small ships. Experiment with the fits and test them out against people “out in the wild.”
(NOTE: Try to not use duels as a “benchmark” or “testing grounds.” Duels in general are kinda static and require different types of ship fits that don’t always work out in “the wild”).
You WILL die… but if you treat each death with the mantra “how could I have done better?” your player skill will slowly increase… meanwhile your character skill will be ticking away regardless.
Initiate conversations with those who kill you… be polite… pick their brains… make a joke.
They may even invite you to join them down the road if you show improvement.