Welcome to the boards! I'm a new rider as well but I was thinking of springing for the 300 opposed to the 500. Any particular reason you went with the 500?
Welcome to our small community, Liz.
Answering Saint's question, I bought my 500 to keep pace with my GF's Shadow 750. Many people told me I'd be bored/tired of the lower power/speed of the 300 in six months time, and wanting to upgrade, so I went straight for the 500. I haven't regretted it. Since the 300 and 500 both use the same chassis, you can really see the difference in the engine size when they are sat next to one another. The 300 would be good for a beginner and someone who commutes short distances on smaller roads but to maintain 70+ mph and ride longer distances more comfortably a 500 would be the way to go, IMHO.