Hello and welcome to the community! TS1, long story short leaves a whole lot to be desired as you clearly already know. Solutions that I used when I was in your position:
Make sure you check out all of the tutorials that Mark Denton and Tyler Shelton have put up for the community. They outline the basic understanding that any pilot should have in order to be a knowledgeable and effective member of the community and within IF. There’s something new to be learned every day, no matter what trust level or rank.
Participate in the Friday Night Flight and Turbulent Tuesday events. There’s a lot of names out there, here’s your chance to get out there and operate with them. Keep in mind that you can always PM other users to get together and fly, which is very useful in my next tip.
Avoid busy areas of TS1. You’ll get experience working with ATC during the weekly events, but outside of that you can ease your frustrations by just making your flight plan and operating solo on the training server. Learn how to correctly use Unicom. As I said before, feel free to PM people to get together and fly within the empty regions. If inexperienced controllers or nimrod pilots grind your gears, avoid SoCal like the plague.
Stay informed by logging in right here. Community members routinely post when they’re going to be active ATC, and many of them are looking to learn and receive feedback. You can learn right with them just by participating.
Long rant summary: Don’t rush to get to Expert server. Expectations are high and the population is often very low (for now). Put in your time hand flying your aircraft, look into joining a VA perhaps, and enjoy your time getting to Expert while learning how to belong there at the same time. Again, welcome to the community, we’re very happy to have you! Happy flying.