In my first year as a doctoral student, I read a lot of online parodies about graduate-school life. Dark humor was a coping strategy for me and my cohort, which is why we regularly read Tumblr sites like Lego Grad Student and What Should We Call Grad School, as well as PhD Comics.
I always appreciated the humor because it drew much-needed attention to the struggles of graduate study. Yet such parodies also scared me because, collectively, they sent the message that misery was just a normal part of graduate school — i.e., get used to it. I was afraid that if I questioned the doctoral-training-as-misery norm, I would be seen as weak or somehow "not academic enough."
Read more of this opinion piece from the Chronicle of Higher Education here.