Sula returns back to the "Bottoms" after 10 years away. In that time she attended college in Nashville, TN. When she graduated from Fisk University she takes the long "high-heeled trek up the birdshit-soaked street." "Armed with a college education and an edgy cynicism, Sula is an outcast from the start. Her status as a woman without a man and a woman without children simply does not translate into a life that the Bottom understands." Sula's grandmother, Eva, speaks for the whole community when she tells her granddaughter to have some babies, that it will "settle" her. She does not use her degree, in fact it is just the opposite, "Sula was completely free of ambition, with no affection for money, property or things, no greed, no desire to command attention or compliments-no ego. For that reason she felt no compulsion to verify herself-be consistent with herself. (Sula 118-19) At one point, Nel went to pick up some medicine for Sula "upon Nel’s return they first discussed Sula’s staying alone and working. Sula remarked that work was good for Nel but that she herself would not work. Nel remarked that Sula never had to work. "
Sula returns to the Bottom after 10 years of getting her college education, however I am not sure if the book specifies this. As she ventures back to the Bottom, she is educated yet she does not have a husband or kids which does not make sense in the Bottom. Sula is a free bird and has her own ideals which often clash with those in the Bottom that lead them to believe that Sula is an evil to all of them.