When I wrote up my masters thesis (a long time ago) I had a JRR Tolkien calendar on the wall. The picture for the hardest and darkest month was of Frodo and Sam at the top of the cliff in the dark wondering how to get down. Recently I’ve found Dave Pritchard’s Lord of the Rings: an allegory of the PhD?
The story starts with Frodo: a young hobbit, quite bright, a bit dissatisfied with what he’s learnt so far and with his mates back home who just seem to want to get jobs and settle down and drink beer. He’s also very much in awe of his tutor and mentor, the very senior professor Gandalf, so when Gandalf suggests he take on a short project for him (carrying the Ring to Rivendell), he agrees.
(see link for the rest)
If we follow the plot so far I’ve made it to Rivendell. Only the hard stuff to go.