By Grace Baker
Rasean Jenkins, University of Memphis senior history major, is making ends meet while preparing for his future.
He works at Panera Bread Company 20 to 30 hours a week, as well as running the Sultana Disaster Museum a couple of days each week. Jenkins said he knows it’s a lot of work now, but he’s confident it will pay off in the end.
“[The museum] coincides with my major,” Jenkins said, “and I also get paid, but I also love anything to do with history.”
To help pay for his expenses, Jenkins started working at Panera about seven months ago. As a Panera associate, he does a little bit of everything, from working at the drive-thru to helping prepare orders in the kitchen.
Jenkins’ life, school and work juggling act isn’t unusual for college students in the United States. In 2015, according to 2017 report from the National Center for Education Statistics, 43 percent of full-time undergraduate students held part-time jobs.
Panera has given Jenkins plenty of workplace experience and unforgettable stories. He said he has dealt with his fair share of crazy customers at Panera, but one incident particularly stood out to him.
A girl who used to work at Panera started screaming and following the manager around. The police came, and she screamed at them, too.
“This job is like a soap opera,” Jenkins said.
Marcus Wright, the manager at Panera, said that Rasean is one of the most consistent employees he has, and he loved working with him.
“Rasean is one of the most argumentative, at the same time one of the most intellectual employees that I have,” Wright said. “He will definitely get it right before he does it fast.”