Attending a historically black college or university and finding a university she could financially afford, Sharisma Sawyer chose Savannah State University in Savannah, Georgia. “First of all I wanted to originally attend a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) and I had a friend who attended the college and they told me that (Savannah State) they are really about diversity," she says.
"(And) after spending a year at the college they offer international students a wavier, that really helps out paying the tuition because we (international students) don’t get financial aid,” she says. “So most of us really aren’t wealthy so it really benefits us.”
Sharisma Sawyer desires to become a film screenwriter and a fashion designer in life. The twenty-one year old college student says she wouldn't be able to study in this field if she went to college back home. “I’m from Nassau, Bahamas and I chose to come here for college because at home our main careers are mainly doctor, lawyer, teacher, police so the career choice I was interested in the college at home don’t offer those type of classes and also the career choice that I chose is I want to be a screenwriter and a fashion designer, but the thing is it is not widely known back at home.”
Mass Communication is her major and Sharisma has chosen Art as her minor. Having flexibility to utilize all of her skills is important to her and just from the classes she already has taken in film; she realizes she can expand her skills in that area as well. “I originally chose Mass Communications because I wanted to be a screenwriter, but after taking different classes in video editing and film directing and using the camera, I really expanded my whole career choice and more than being a screenwriter I think I want to be part of everything in a film industry,” she says. “I want to be a director, producer, a cameraman. So the classes have really expanded my knowledge in that area.”
Also, I am an artist because my father is an Art teacher so I grew up drawing and painting and everything. When I was in eighth grade, I just started sketching clothing design and it has stuck with me up until now and the interest really grew,” she says. “So I really found an interest in fashion design and I think I can make a profitable career out of it. So I don’t want to be in one area. I want to expand and I want to do different stuff.”
There are quite a few students from the Bahamas as well as other international students at Savannah State University. Sharisma says she likes the diversity there and how her professors interact with her. “I like it a lot because the school is really about diversity. My professors treat me like I am a regular American citizen and a lot of them do not know that I am from the Bahamas, so it has been really good to know that there is no discrimination and there is no second thought about grades or whatever, so I like my professors.”
Sharisma says being away from home has helped her to grow up and become dependent on herself which is important to her. Also, is receiving an education at Savannah State University. “At home we have very few career choices and most of those careers do not entail going to college, so a lot of people at home really do not attend college,” she says.
“A lot of people I graduated with they really are not interested in going to college because they figure that they found their way of living. They are working at food stores cashing and I don’t image myself doing that for the rest of my life. I really want to be an entrepreneur so I think an education is very important because with an education especially being an international student you really get far with it.”
Receiving a scholarship to pursue her master's degree is what Sharisma hopes can become a reality if she continues to do well with her studies now. She says....”I will be graduating next December. When I graduate actually I want to complete my masters. I want to attend Savannah College of Art and Design and I want to do my masters in film and television and I also want to focus more on the fashion design.