Last weekend I played in the Open section of the Oregon Open chess tournament in Portland. It was a tough tournament with FIDE rating and time controls. For me it was a fantastic learining experience. I have a USCF rating of 1812 so was one of the weaker players in this tournament.
I encourage you if you have the chance to play OTB tournaments with players stronger than you. Regardless of if you win or lose your chess understanding will improve hugely if you are able to learn from your losses and analyse the game with your stronger opponents afterwards. Previously I was able to pretty easly win against players rated below 1800 by playing solidly and just waiting until they made a tactical blunder. Well I have learned that when playing guys over 2000 rating that strategy simply does not work! They do not make tactical blunders (at least very rarely) and the games are a lot tougher and drawn out- if you make one small mistake the stronger players will see it immediately and punish you severely. The stronger players have good knowledge of opening theory but also know how to manage their time. When a critical positon arises they recognize it and use a lot of time to think about the position.
If you can leave your ego at the door and have an open mind to learing you will gain valuable experience and will improve.
Here is one of my games against a player rated about 300 points above me. I am playing black and lost. The game got tactical and my inexperience shows.