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By Eric Weld   Date: 6/10/13 Bookmark and Share

Campus Commuter: The Road Less Traveled

Like many Smith College graduates, after walking across the stage in the Quad and claiming her diploma during commencement exercises last month, Maurine Miller ’13 went home.

Maurine Miller '13, diploma in hand, with her mother, Lucia, on graduation day.
  Maurine Torrell '48, after whom Maurine Miller '13, her granddaughter, was named, and whose pearls she wore during commencement 65 years later.

But for her, the trip took only a few minutes. No packing up her belongings, no wistful final waves to Northampton through the rear car window, no days ahead of readjusting to parental rules.

For Miller, finishing Smith simply meant a walk back home a few blocks across town, to the home she grew up in with her mother, Lucia Miller.

Even though Miller is one of 25 Smith students who live in Northampton, she is one of very few who opted to continue living at home instead of moving into one of the campus houses.

“Other students have the whole panic of moving after graduation, ” she says of her fellow recent graduates. “I feel pretty happy just taking my time for now. I’m living life, saving a lot of money. I feel pretty lucky.”

Miller is in no hurry to begin her job search because she is continuing her work as a nanny that she has held for the past five years.

Living at home and commuting to Smith probably wouldn’t be ideal for everyone. Some students crave the immersion in college culture that comes with on-campus living, not to mention the separation from parents.

“It turned out to be a great choice for me,” says Miller. “I could always attend campus events, and I could always stay in a campus house with my friends if I wanted to.”

Miller’s experience as a live-at-home student was much different from that of her late grandmother, Maurine Torrell ’48, when she enrolled at Smith 65 years earlier, moving from Connecticut to reside in Wilder House.

A graduate of the Smith College Campus School and Northampton public schools, Miller recalls telling her mother as a kindergartener, “I want to go to Smith because I want to come home for lunch.”

As a new Smith alumna with a degree in art history (she minored in Spanish and completed a museums concentration), Miller plans to focus her eventual job search on curatorial or public relations opportunities in Boston and New York.

For now, she is where she wants to be, the place that formed her.

“I’m really proud to be a product of Northampton and Smith,” she says.” I’m not in a rush to leave.”

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