Now that I'm closer to the end of the academic cursus honorum than its beginning, it's probably too easy for me to forget how difficult (emotionally, financially, institutionally) it is to survive the process in its earlier stages.
That's why I've enjoyed reading blogs like Ancrene Wiseass , Blogenspieland Heo Cwaeth so much. They are a constant reminder not only of what a struggle it can be for a bright person to run through the field's multiple hoops (grad school competition! qualifying exams! oral exams! a prospectus! a dissertation! the job market circus!) and break into the profession; they also give me much hope for what the future of the field will be like with people as smart and humane as this [hopefully] entering.