Tuition for four college freshman: $75,000
Four laptop computers: $4,000
Four sets of dorm room necessities: $2,000
Leaving home for the first time: priceless
They are Oregon ’s sweethearts. The area’s little girls we’ve all had the pleasure to watch grow up. And now jeweler Alan Miller’s famous quadruplets are 18 and ready to try it on their own by heading off to college.
Alana, Andrea, Lisa and Valerie made their debut as Alan Miller’s girls in a radio commercial when they were just four years old. Now, 14 years later they are taking on the big bad world without the comforts of home. Alana, Andrea and Lisa are off to Bowling Green State University and Valerie is heading five hours west to Lake Forest College in IL.
So how is everyone taking this big change? Some better than others.
“We are all really close,” Lisa said. “Valerie is going really far away. I don’t like to think about it.”
Even though Valerie is leaving all that is familiar to her, it’s unanimous amongst the family that she will be more than fine.
“Valerie is very independent,” the girls’ mother, Marilyn, said. “We’re not worried about her at all. She’s going to make it. She could have done it five years ago.”
According to their dad, Valerie has known from an early age that she wanted to move away. At Lake Forrest she will be using her years of experience performing on stage and hopefully keep performing as long as she can.
But just like every other 18-year-old leaving home for the first time, Valerie has her worries. There’s living with a stranger, not being able to make new friends, being able to handle the work load that comes with the college experience, and the list goes on. All of her worries, however, come back to her family.
“I’m kind of nervous something might happen to one of my grandparents or sisters,” Valerie said. “And I won’t be able to get home in time.”
Valerie and Andrea have a lot of the same interests and friends, making them very close and making their separation all the more difficult. Andrea will be at BGSU with an undecided major and a roommate she’s never met before. She’s a little nervous, to say the least.
“I’m worried about taking care of myself,” she said. “And it might be a little awkward living with someone I don’t know.”
Andrea was depicted by her family as the compassionate and studious one. Each of her sisters described her as a caring person or the “nice one” of the family. Andrea as well as Lisa and Alana have decided that coming home for dinner with the family once a week was a must. The girls hope to reunite every Sunday and then venture to Lake Forrest once a month to visit Valerie. Alana is the only one who is worried she won’t be able to make the trips with her sisters.
As a cheerleader on the BGSU co-ed squad, Alana plans on being extremely busy. At BG, she is an undecided major but is leaning towards business.
“It’s sad we won’t get to see each other as much,” she said. “ But it’ll be nice to get away for a little bit.”
Alana chose to wing it and move in with whomever the school picked for her but doesn’t seem to be very worried about that at all.
“Alana is very free willed,” Lisa said. “And really social. She makes friends really easily.”
And then there’s Lisa. Alana’s fraternal twin and the motherly sister to all.
“I’m almost exactly like my mom,” she said. “I can talk to her about anything. We just click.”
All of her family members see her as the responsible one, the sister that looks out for everyone. And it would only be appropriate that she would study education at BGSU. Lisa said that she’s always known she wanted to be a teacher, but has her fears about college as well.
“I’ve always known what I wanted to do,” she said. “But I’m afraid that college isn’t going to be as I imagined it would be.”
All students go into their freshman year with a picture of what their life is going to be like, finally free from parental supervision. The Miller girls are different. Yes, they all excited for this next chapter of their life, however, they each know their hearts will be home with mom and dad.
As for mom and dad, well they’re handling an empty nest about as well as could be expected. Dad is confident that each of his girls will succeed in all their endeavors, as well as mom. But there is that twinge of sadness is their voices as move in day draws closer and closer.
“I’m not pleased with an empty nest,” mom said. “I’m really sad. I’m going to miss them terribly.”
Alan is certain that all of his little girls will do well.
“In high school, academically they all did very well,” he said. “College is a little more responsibility, but if they put forth the effort, they’ll all do fine.”
Motherly Lisa has just one last piece of advice to offer her sisters as they part ways.
“Live how you want to live. Do what you want to do and don’t let anyone stand in your way.”