One of my best friends has been struggling for the last ten years to finish her dissertation. She’s brilliant, has an impeccable academic pedigree, and her graduate papers are charmingly readable. Many times I have urged her to just quit; she has an independent income, and besides, she’s so smart, she doesn’t need a PhD to prove it. Yet a combination of family pressure, guilt, and habit have propelled her onward. As Matt Groening’s early cartoon illustrates, graduate school asks you to put off your life.