This is how I felt in grad school. Surrounded by weirdly serious ducks that kept telling me that I should be just like them and that if I wasn't just like them... serious, unhappy, non-smiling, floating on top of the water... I wasn't working hard enough. I found this to be the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard of.
If I was happy and smiling and laughing I wasn't working hard enough? WTF? What kind of sad horrible place did these people live in? You have to work so hard that you are miserable?
Grad school was a strange place, another world almost, for me. I thought that because we all loved water we would get along but it turns out some of us like to be happy swimming turtles and others like to float on top of the water being unnecessarily serious and never looking underneath the surface.
The people at my grad school, the very successful professors and such, they were WRONG! So very very wrong.... amazingly WRONG! You can be totally happy, you can swim on the surface and underneath the water, you can smile and laugh and have fun WHILE working hard. You can be happy and successful --- these things are not mutually exclusive.
So now with the distance space (about 3,000 miles) and time (two years), when I think about my graduate experience I no longer get
Life is good, don't let the serious ducks convince you otherwise.*
*this moment of cheese brought to you by new awesome data, a smiling baby, and officemates who make you coffee.