Ok, I don't know how I missed this before, and think I might have faint stirrings of recollection from a time before measure, but anyway - if you are in the midst of, or know people whom are on the PhD quest - read this, by Danny Yee.
The Lord of the Rings: an allegory of the PhD?
"With the help of his friends and colleagues, Frodo passes through this final ordeal, but discovers at the end that victory has no value left for him. While his friends return to settling down and finding jobs and starting families, Frodo remains in limbo; finally, along with Gandalf, Elrond and many others, he joins the brain drain across the Western ocean to the new land beyond."
LOTR; full of life lessons.
Via The One Going to Norway.