In 2002, Erika Byrd enlisted in the U.S. Army as a military police officer before she had even graduated high school. She served on the front lines of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for eight years before returning home with the colorful medals and the hidden scars.

Now Erika is a 26-year old female combat veteran who is a freshman in college. After almost a decade at war, she thought that college would be easy, but it turns out that her transition to civilian life is littered with unexpected challenges. Some of these obstacles arise because Erika is new to the rhythms of college life. The skills she has learned in order to navigate combat and military life rarely serve her well on campus. At the same time, Erika does not fit neatly into one of the categories of traditional college students, and that makes it more difficult for the people she meets to get to know her better.

Erika contends with freshman classes, noisy neighbors, well-meaning classmates, and demanding professors. She struggles with this transition, and the temptation to return to the structure of the military is strong.

Will she have the courage to confront this transformation and plunge headlong into a new life? Will she mistake it for some kind of idealistic nonsense? Will real change, however incremental, just seem too hard for her?

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