When Catherine A. Milton moved back to her parents’ home to finish her dissertation, she didn’t imagine that she would stay for seven years. While living at their Connecticut home, she not only earned her Ph.D. but landed her first teaching job, at Norwalk, and even earned tenure there.
“I went back to my old bedroom,” recalls Milton. “You have to give up your independence and your identity, to fit back into whoever you were when you were back in the family mold.” Milton’s mother cooked dinner every weeknight, but Milton did her own laundry. “There was something about mixing underwear at the age of 30 that I didn’t want to deal with,” she says.
While living at her childhood home was inexpensive, it was also sometimes lonely, recalls Milton. “This was a very wealthy, conservative, coupled, married town,” says Milton, who is single. Living with her parents, she says, made her question everything about herself. “What is happening to me?” she wondered. “Who am I going to become?”