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Section 2 Becoming a Researcher/Scholar / Chapter 3 The Doctoral Identity
The idea of becoming an authentic self is not only plausible, but it is within the reach of those who want to understand their own dispositions.
If you do not know who you are, how could you know what you have become?
This chapter discusses the notion of establishing a doctoral identity and embracing the dispositions necessary to become a doctoral researcher and scholar. This concept of doctoral identity also includes having an understanding of personal dispositions. According to Merriam-Webster, a disposition is a predominant tendency to act in a certain manner under given circumstances (Disposition, n.d.). Another view of disposition is that it is a part of a learner’s own organic and authentic self, similar to what Carl Rogers (1964) indicated when he said, “the inner world of the individual appears to have more significant influence upon his behavior than does the external environmental stimulus (p. 125).
The idea of becoming an authentic self is not only plausible, but it is within the reach of those who want to understand their own dispositions. It is a hope, a desire, and a quest to understand one’s real persona. It encompasses growth and development of a sense of authenticity in any domain. Maslow (1965) spoke of authenticity as the pinnacle of development in his work on self-actualization and peak experience. Tillich (2000) suggested, “We cannot compel anyone to accept himself. But sometimes it happens that we receive the power to say 'yes' to ourselves, that peace enters into us and makes us whole …” (p. 4).
Doctoral learners are embarking on a journey that cannot be taught as a skill or a competency; it is a journey that only they will be able to describe and live phenomenologically, experiencing as only they can. There will come a time in this journey when doctoral learners recognize change in themselves. They will discover that the process of earning their doctoral degree has affected changes in the way they think and live in the world. Once learners complete their doctoral degree, they can reflect on what they can give back to the world. Pursuing a doctoral degree is an undertaking of enormous magnitude. To navigate this journey, it is important to understand some of the challenges, expectations, and adjustments necessary to be successful.