A bunch of poor dumb bastards have no idea what they're getting themselves into. Hey dudes and dudettes, take it from someone who's been there: if you don't know why you're going to grad school, don't do it. You're going to hate your life, and even if you get funding, living on $20k a year, especially when you have family responsibilities (I'm looking at you, Prebble Q. Ramswell) sucks donkey nuts.
By the way, I noted with infinite relish that someone ACTUALLY NAMED Prebble Q. Ramswell not only exists but is female. I mean, no offense to Mrs. Ramswell is intended (I'm sure she was a terrific CIA analyst) but that just sounds like some kind of joke name that Pynchon would make up to give to someone who barges through doors a lot. Truth: maybe not always stranger than fiction but pretty damn weird sometimes.