PhD: reader comments 
I just finished my PhD and I just realized how wrong everything was. I wasted precious years of my life, especially in STEM where your younger years are your most precious. The school doesn’t care even the slightest bit about graduate students and they are simply expendable and replaceable commodities – forcing you to “teach” horrible classes babysitting undergraduates and spend countless hours grading. It is absolutely horrifying how graduate students are treated. Even the janitors are treated far far better.
The worst thing is the publication and research racket. The chance of publication depends heavily on the names on the paper and lesser on the content. There is so much publication and most content is absolute garbage, written by people who have no real clue to what is going on. Then, as a graduate student you read it and think that is what is going on and waste your time doing research on it.
First there is the endless charade of pointless classes. Next, is pointless amount of reading “research”. Then, after that is doing your own research which will be read by 2-3 other people ever. Only the superstar papers get any notice and that is 1%. Most likely you will not be one of them if you adviser isn’t a superstar.
I think it might make sense to do PhD if you work with a superstar professor in a famous and well-funded lab with lots of younger nontenured professors – and laser focus and finish everything within a 3-4 years max and get out. Anything worse is an incredible waste of time and your mental health.
The bottom line: the pay is abysmal, the work is hard and pointless without good rewards and worst of all, the people there are terrible.