All this talk of ignorance, deep ends, exposure, and retreat might sound negative. But ignorance is not a bad thing if it is recognized and confronted. The worst case is that you’re not even aware of your ignorance, but if you recognize what you’re missing and address it, you’ve taken a step forward. One of the foundations of a solid apprenticeship is an Accurate Self-Assessment, in which you try to determine how far along the path you are and take note of any gaps in your knowledge. You need to become intimately familiar with your competencies, the skills you need to immediately become competent in, and the knowledge that interests you long-term. Upcoming patterns such as Reflect as You Work and Record What You Learn should help you maintain this familiarity. Above all, embrace this season of The Long Road. There are few other times in your career when you can be this inward-focused and dedicated to your own personal growth.