Thoughts of a little fish....in my opinion the tournament and ring games are two very different games.
I play exclusively tourny's and sit and go, so i will not be giving any advice or strategies for playing cash games (aka ring games), i will try to outline the main differences between the two.
In a tournament we pay a fixed amount and receive a pre-determined amount of tourny chips-the same amount as all the other players in the tourny, at a ring table you are playing with real money
. This means that in a tourny you can only lose the original buy-in (unless it is a re-buy tourny). In a ring game players can sit down with different stack sizes, this means they can be a big stack bully or can be bullied by a big stack. So stack size when sitting down at a ring table is an important factor. You can lose all your bankroll in one session at a ring table.
The aim when playing a tourny is to be the last man standing or to avoid being eliminated for as long as possible (i have folded AA before seeing the flop in tourny's). The aim when playing ring games is to win as many pots as possible and thus make as much profit as posssible (folding AA pre-flop in a ring game is unthinkable).
In a ring game you will find the players are more experienced and are generally of a much higher quality than those in a freeroll or micro buy-in tourny.
As a beginner i chose to to play in tourny's and to adapt my game to that style of play because there are not such large swings in fortune and it is easier to manage your bankroll.
Good luck wherever you chose to play.