Two University of Mississippi students are working at a local apartment complex while studying mechanical engineering and psychology. Answering phone calls, going over leases, consulting with residents, and breaking up pool parties is sometimes part of the job.
Taylor Burford, 19, was hired at The Hub four and a half months ago. The UM sophomore from Memphis, who is studying mechanical engineering, plans to pursue a career working for a Fortune 500 company.
Burford is intrigued by the business of engineering and the automotive industry. She is also involved in the Haley Barbour Center for Manufacturing Excellence.
Her first job was a lifeguard at The Racquet Club of Memphis, which could come in handy since The Hub has a pool.
Burford said The Hub has helped her develop people skills, because she’s had to deal with stressful customers over the phone in person. She now understands the leases The Hub offers, which help her in certain situations with customers.
Burford, who is also a resident at The Hub, enjoys discounted rent and the pool. However, the business does have its difficulties. Time management is one, as she tries to cope with work and studies.
She also once helped clean out an apartment that resulted in more than 25 bags of garbage. Another crazy moment happened when a football player invited the team to go for a swim in the pool at 2 a.m. in the morning. Loud music and noise brought the pool gathering to an end quickly.
Matthew Wade, 21, also works at The Hub. The Laurel native is the eldest of three siblings. Wade was 15 when his mother passed away, which was hard for him, but he became the family caretaker.
The UM senior majoring in psychology had originally planned to study pharmacy. Using psychology to his advantage, Wade would like to start a nonprofit or be a counselor. He said he has worked as a bouncer at fraternity parties and met people who struggle in life. He would like to be someone they can turn to for help.
Wade humorously recalled his first job as a mascot for his uncle’s tutoring business. During his freshman year of high school, he attended rallies and town fairs dressed as the mascot.
He now works with Burford at The Hub manning phones and helping potential residents find a new home. He has worked the front desk since May. Wade said reduced rent was a big draw. He is also a resident of The Hub.
A typical day at The Hub involves a problem that he helps fix. He answers phones and takes care of packages. He said he loves the people he works with. They are the best part of his job, and he feels fortunate that the staff likes him.
He said the hardest part about working at The Hub is dealing with irresponsible residents and parents. Wade said he appreciates the maintenance workers. He said they keep the place running, but their work often goes unnoticed.
He said a majority of the time, The Hub is uneventful, but when you throw alcohol into the mix, the outcomes are endless. As a resident, he once woke up early one morning and found an inebriated student passed out on his couch.
Both Burford and Wade have learned life lessons working at The Hub. While Burford has learned that “the truth always comes out,” Wade has learned that “nobody really knows what they’re doing,” that “we are all just trying to manage our own lives,” and “we will all have different journeys to the end of our lives.”