Determined for Success

By Tiffany King

College of Coastal Georgia senior Antonia Bashir isn’t letting anything hold her back. Even as a baby, she couldn’t wait. She was born in a van on the way to the hospital, and then years later, she set her heart on attending college far from her home in North Georgia for a new beginning.

“I wanted a fresh start and I didn’t want to see the same people,” she said of high school. “When I was researching, I found this school because it’s next to the beach, which I really like, and it was far enough. This was the perfect place to go.”

The marketing major has truly found her stride at the College. Initially, she decided to major in economics since she enjoyed it in high school. However, she quickly figured out that it wasn’t the right fit, and switched to marketing.

“When I took my first marketing class with Professor Scott Williamson (professor of Practice, Marketing and Communications), I really enjoyed it,” she said. “I’m a pretty creative person, but I’m also business-oriented. I think marketing is a good blend of both.”

Communicating with Confidence

Bashir is set to graduate May 2023 and has come a long way from her first year in College. She came to Coastal Georgia with the mindset of meeting new people—and that’s exactly what she did. Meeting other students and doing group projects pushed Bashir out of her comfort zone—especially public speaking.

“For me, it’s been the speeches. That’s something I’ve never been comfortable with and had to be pushed into doing. College has been good for me because I’m doing things I wasn’t comfortable with before,” she said. “I still don’t like speeches, but I’m at the point where I can do it. It’s a good thing.”

One of her favorite moments actually involves public speaking. In Dr. Bill Garlen’s upper level entrepreneurship course, the class did a Gullah-Geechee shrimping cooperative feasibility study for shrimpers in McIntosh County. Garlen is the director of Business Innovation Development. The class shared the results of their study in a presentation to the boat captains, local partners, and community members. Despite how nervous she was during her part of the presentation, Bashir described it as enjoyable. 

"That whole project was a really good experience for us—just to learn about the history and all that’s involved. It was the biggest speech I ever gave, and it showed me that I can do it—that I have a gift with that,” Bashir said.

She shared that Williamson provided great advice to students about overcoming the nerves of public speaking.

“He said those nerves that you feel, it’s good to feel that. It means your body is working properly. When you’re in an uncomfortable position, you’re supposed to feel that. It’s that fight or flight feeling. You take that energy and try to channel that into confidence,” Bashir said. “That’s what really helped me. Turn it into confidence and say over and over again in your mind, ‘I got this.’ When you get up there, you’re going to be nervous those first seconds, but then you have it after that moment. His advice really, really helped. He taught us that before a presentation he assigned us. So, for the feasibility project, I just thought of that and it was a big help.”

Coming to the College also opened a new world of health for Bashir. She’s very fitness-oriented, and back home, she only worked out with dumbbells. At Coastal, she has access to an actual gym and is moving forward in her fitness journey. When not in class, Bashir can be found in the gym either exercising or as a student worker for Recreation and Wellness.

“I’m in the gym all the time, even if I’m not working out—and if not in the gym, then the rec. I really like my co-workers. I’ve gotten the chance to see how you interact with co-workers and figure things out if things don’t work. Just learning how the business works and how to be a team player, she said.

She even creates workouts for her friends, and now hopes to open her own gym.

Looking Towards the Future

Bashir likes to stay on the move and that applies to her future career—or careers—as well.

“I want to work for Nike and climb the ranks within the marketing department. Then with real estate, I think that’s a great passive income resource. With the gym, it makes perfect sense for me to open up a gym. Those are all the things I want to do at some point in my life,” she said. “I would say Nike first, then real estate, and eventually a gym. I’m the type of person that can’t sit still. I can’t be tied to one thing. I’m going to do multiple things in my life.”

Bashir is very happy with her choice of Coastal Georgia.  She described the campus as small, but close-knit with everyone knowing each other, creating a good community of people.

“We all get along for the most part. At a big school, you’re not going to have that community—that’s a selling point for this school,” Bashir said.

Her advice to other students is to make time to study, utilize the academic services at the College, and talk with your professor. To meet people, she encourages students to take advantage of the opportunity to visit club tables during events.

“Go up to the tables and see what we have. Go out of your way to meet people,” she said. “It’s very important to have your support group while at College.”

As a newborn, Bashir was impatient to enter the world, and was very quiet despite the havoc she caused. Since then, it’s apparent that she’s taken that same determination and channeled it towards her collegiate and future careers.