How does a baker work at perfecting the craft?
This question has bothered me slightly. Its probably because I'm quite a ways down from even being knowlegdebale on the subject, but as I wait to attend a baking school, I've wondered how to work on the craft at home. So far I've been running through the BBA. I feel like I'm picking up on patterns that allow me to keep my eyes out of the book and on the dough, but I keep thinking I should do more. Should I try memorizing times, temperatures and formulas? Should I start baking almost "free-form" sotospeak? Should I apply more baker's math (does wear down supplies abit though) and stock pre-ferments in large quantities? Granted I haven't even touched sourdoughs yet.
Ultimately, it seems that one can best perfect the craft in a more professional environment. In the event that I don't reach school, how does one just jump in? Staging has proven difficult when it comes to bakeries, especially in NYC and even moreso when one is a novice with practically no related work experience. It also seems a bit difficult when you find yourself needing an actual job then volunteering and such. Any tips?
I simply want to situate myself in an environment which allows constant improvement. Sorry if this is the wrong place. Questions seemed broad enough. Thanks.