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I learned it while I was in college. I can type considerably faster than I can write, so I was looking for a way to type notes in my math-heavy classes. The beauty of it came when we had an exam, and the professor would allow us to bring in ONE page of notes for the exam. Normally, you'd see all kinds of handwritten pages, full of equations and formulae. In my case, I'd copy and paste all the pertinent stuff from my homework assignments, put it into a two- or three-column mode and kick the fontsize WAY down. The result? I had good eyesight, so I didn't need a magnifying glass to read 7- and 8-point type. I was able to bring a LOT of information in on that one little page. Having access to a decent laser printer in the computer lab helped, as well.
It got to the point that I could sit there, with vim running in text mode on my old HP OmniBook (only 48MB RAM, after the upgrade; any questions why it was in text mode?), plugging formulae into my notes almost as fast as the professors could write them on the board. Trig, algebra, calculus, summations, products, you name it, LaTeX handled it with ease. And, when it came time to turn in homework, you couldn't complain about the general illegibility of my handwriting.
Yes, there is a learning curve. Once you get past the initial parts of it, though, it rocks.