Learnability: Accepting the idea that I am not in this program to prove how good I already am, instead I am in this program to humbly find out all that I still need to learn, and improve what I already know. This is the key trait that opens the doors of transformation from a student to a scholar.
Skill set: This is where a student practically starts developing mechanical and analytical skills required to complete the program successfully. Examples of such skills are scholarly writing, editing, speed reading, statistical analysis, research methods, people skills, delegation, and decision making etc. The brief list of skills listed here may seem to be a bit farfetched, but a student needs to realize that earning the doctoral title is not at all about scoring an A grade. Instead, the process is about developing the capacity to become a contributor in the forefront of knowledge creation while handling all awkward internal and external variables of life.
Critical thinking: This is where a student learns how to analyze the personal situation and implement the acquired skills to take control of the doctoral path. In this phase as students drive their doctoral study forward, they are actually learning to fulfill the expectations associated with the credential their aspiring to acquire. Think of this learning path as driving a vehicle with a “student driver”bumper sticker. Unfortunately, students who push their way through this process without developing the doctoral mindset hardly get any gains from their progress. Such students show a strong trend of accentuating negative traits such as arrogance, and cynicism that is never well received by postdoctoral scholarly communities. On the other hand, the students would take upon themselves to exhaust all available learning resources (such as mentors and learning community) often find their learning experience free of conflicts.
Contributions that you can make as a doctor to your community are immense and rewarding. If you think about it, your contributions don’t just start after graduation, the fact that you are investing time and resources to become a doctor is in itself a sacrifice and a contribution to your community. I wish that all doctoral students are able to make the best out of their learning process.
Hope this stimulates thinking.