This will not be a popular opinion, but hey, here goes.
I use the CH Products Mach I. It's a bare bones, two axis, two button joystick. The base isn't much bigger than my fist. It's white plastic, and it cost about $10 in circa 1992 dollars. It still works fine, and I've been using it to fly FS2K around. The stick itself is only 3 inches high, and is about 1/2 inch in diameter. I prefer it to the monstrosities so common today.
When you guys start flying real airplanes, you'll notice one thing: Until you are a CFI, you do all your flying in the left seat. That means you have to use your right hand for the throttle, mixture, radios, etc., and your left hand for the actual flying of the airplane. I've noticed the Microsoft joysticks are molded to fit a right hand, which is not your flying hand in real life. I fly a simulator with my left hand, even though I am right handed. You guys might want to think about it too if you are planning to move to real airplanes. Anyway, just a thought.
Jack @ AUS