This is a bit late, but I suppose better late than never.
The Nikon P500 is a point and shoot, the same as any other in many ways: it uses a small sensor and has an integrated lens. What it offers over a basic pocket one, however, is a huge zoom range (it's very nice, as you've probably realized by now) and manual control of the exposure.
There is no raw mode at all on the P500, so you don't need to worry about that for now, but for reference, a raw file takes the raw data straight from the sensor and doesn't process it, allowing the photographer to process it later. JPEG, which is all that yours will produce, is the finished photograph, with some data missing when it's compressed and written to your card. In short: working with raw is like working from a negative in a darkroom, where you can dodge and burn and adjust the photograph to your liking after the fact, while JPEG is like a Polaroid, where it's done when you remove it from the camera and you can only make very limited adjustments, if any, after the fact.
Fortunately though, you do have manual control on your camera - that is, you can adjust ISO, aperture and shutter speed manually. Any beginner photography book can instruct you on how to use your camera's manual modes creatively, as well as instructing you in composition.