It definitely would not take you nearly a year just to get used to an arcade stick, lol. Then again, it could depend on how often you practice with it. It probably took me like maybe four or five months of daily sessions in Street Fighter IV before I finally got used to the arcade stick. This was just last year and I was 19 years old. I was a pad player up until then. Now the pad feels hella-weird and I never wanna go back to it because I feel so limited when the pad is in my hands, lol. I’m glad I learned how to play on an arcade stick though because now I’m better in every fighting game and feel more confident in my executions and everything.
I remember when the Japanese version of Tatsunoko vs. Capcom first came out. I bought a HORI arcade stick just to play it because I liked it a lot, but it felt really weird for me and I kept feeling like going back to the pad. Ever since I had gotten used to playing on the arcade stick for Street Fighter IV (I quit Tatsunoko vs. Capcom just to play it), I was able to go back to Tatsunoko vs. Capcom and felt a lot more comfortable playing on the stick. It felt like I already knew how to play the game on the stick, even though I never really did before. So once you’re comfortable, you’ll be able to play any fighting game on an arcade stick, even when you go to the arcades, which is awesome. It feels just like using a pad. So I felt that it was worth it to learn.
It all depends on how serious you want to get into it though. I know a couple of people who thought they wanted to get serious with it and bought arcade sticks, then lost interest and now keep their arcade sticks in their closet or under their bed (which I’ll probably try to buy off them later, LMAO).