My name is Barbara Bloom-Groshong, and I started working at the University of Portland as an adjunct faculty member teaching one section of BUS 250 (Business Law) in Spring 2015. I had been an attorney for over 20 years at a Portland law firm, specializing in labor and employment law, and I wanted to give back and do something new. I had no idea at that time that, two years later, I would be a full-time faculty member teaching four different courses (BUS 100, BUS 250, BUS 360 and BUS 450) in the Pamplin School of Business.
My advice to students would be to always remain open to new professional opportunities and experiences. During my college years, I did not set out to become a university professor. However, after guest lecturing in law school classes and giving several presentations during my legal career, I found that I wanted to try teaching a college class. I was very nervous at first, but I learned from the mistakes that I made during my first term. I gained confidence by continuing to work hard and never giving up on my goals.
I also want students not to assume that their professors were always good at some of the skills that they have now. For instance, many students are reluctant to get in front of the class and give presentations. I remind them that public speaking is a big fear for many people; including me at one time. When I was in college, and well into my legal career, I would read word-for-word from a note card or piece of paper, and I would rarely make eye contract with the audience. With time and a lot of practice, however, it became much easier for me to talk in front of people. Students can do it too.
One of my best experiences in college, and in life, was the semester that I spent abroad studying in London, England. I highly encourage our students to take advantage of this opportunity during their time at the University of Portland as well. Not only did I get to visit incredible places throughout Europe, I was also able to experience how other cultures live on a day-to-day basis. In today’s global marketplace, this is invaluable information for students to have first hand knowledge of in their business career.
The advice that I would give to my 20 year old self would be to not be too hard on myself academically or otherwise. There is a learning experience to be gained from not doing as well as I had hoped on a test or paper, and it is a part of life for all of us to make mistakes (or even fail) sometimes. It also may take some time to find what you really love doing, and that is okay too. All of your experiences in life will get you that much closer to finding what you are meant to do. I am living proof of that being true, so hang in there!