A recent acquaintance of mine is a PhD candidate at a university here in Toronto.
Full disclosure: I have a master's degree in educaton from Queen's. Getting this degree was ridiculously easy (save for my unhelpful thesis advisor, but that's another story; I could've done a project instead of a thesis and that point would've been moot). And, I'm sure that other graduate degrees range from (a.) a little harder to (b.) much, much harder than what I had to go through.
But, there are some things I'm certain of.
If you have a regular job, it will grind you down. You will likely not be able to go out and party on Friday nights, because all you will want to do is crawl into bed by 9:30. This means you get one night a week to yourself, really, so you'd better fucking make use of it.
Again, I didn't have the most difficult time in grad school, but fundamentally, it goes like this: if you don't have a lot of fixed time where you're supposed to be somewhere, that means it's all up to you as to how you arrange your life. And that's what grad school largely is, no matter if your program is easy or hard.
ECB, former frequent-commenter to this site's predecessor, had a hell of a time in grad school. Her program was bitchier than eight bitches in a bitch-boat. But, y'know what, she had (or, more likely, made) time for her friends. Why? Because she's a competent human being, that's why. Stand-up dame, that one.
So, when someone comes cryin' the blues -- ohhh, poor me, I'm so hard-done-by, grad school is soooo much work -- I'm a little sceptical. (Especially when this person has spent her entire life submerged in academia, and has only briefly held any semblance of a 9-to-5 gig.)
Hell, when I was doing my MEd, there were people there who had come straight out of either a BA/BSc, or had done their BEd and went straight into the master's of education program, and had the same complaint. They were in the same easy-ass program as I was! And, one of my colleagues -- who I don't believe ever finished the MEd, startlingly -- once told me that, even in his undergraduate experience, he'd never handed a paper in on time. Ever. Not once. And was continuing that streak in his MEd career.
The moral of the story is that people need perspective, and need to stop complaining when they actually have it fucking easy.