Being a nontraditional student was a little intimidating for Tonia Locklear. “I kept asking myself ‘How in the world am I going to compete with the younger generation?’” she said. “But my fears were put to rest when I experienced personalized attention from my professors. They were dedicated to my education.” Tonia felt she wasn’t just a student, but part of something bigger, a chance to be proactive in her community. “In the Human Services Club we participated in food drives, the collection of coats for the Sandhills Coalition for Human Care, the annual Southern Pines Christmas Parade and the college’s Spring Fling. As a team we collaborated and created a motto and logo for the club, “I Can’t, But WE Can!” Being able to complete an internship gave Tonia an excellent opportunity that jump-started her career. She reported that the internship laid out a foundation and provided her the skills and confidence she needed to excel in her career and meet her educational goals. Tonia is currently a Mobile Crisis Professional with Monarch. On a typical day, she can be found out in the community responding to crisis calls throughout her four county service area. She could be in a home or doctor’s office, a school or any place where someone is in crisis and in need of a mental health assessment. Tonia never imagined she would be pursuing a master’s degree, but in a few years she plans to earn one in Social Work as she continues to work in the mental health field. She hopes to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Summing up her Sandhills experience Tonia said, “When I returned to school I was in my mid-thirties. I figured I was too old to make a career change, but I am so glad I chose Sandhills. They set the tone for me to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Social Work and raise my standard of living. I am forever thankful to my professors – especially Professor Harris – without her belief in me I wouldn’t be where I am today.” In what little free time she has, Tonia enjoys watching her twins play sports and is involved in church and community activities.