In a sense, Jesse Greene is living three lives simultaneously.
In one, he’s a senior student in SUNY Broome’s challenging Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) program, currently in clinical rotations and preparing to graduate in May. In the overnight hours, he works third-shift as a security guard at Lourdes Hospital. And then there is his third identity: as a Tang So Do Master, teaching Southern Tier students of all ages the Korean martial art at a school he runs.
“The last three years, I’ve been getting no sleep, just two to three hours per night,” he said. “All I do is work, go to school and run my business. My free time is limited.”
But as any good martial artist knows, you need to push on through discomfort to reach the next level of achievement.
Jesse first attended SUNY Broome nearly 14 years ago, directly out of high school, but quit after a year and a half. Three years ago – soon after he took over the martial arts school – he found himself weighing his financial options.
“I wasn’t making any money as a security guard, and I didn’t want to work two or three jobs to pay my bills,” he said.
Friends suggested that he consider returning to school and training for a new career. He initially considered online programs, but none caught his interest. SUNY Broome’s competitive PTA program did.
Returning to school after years away, however, proved daunting – but Jesse Greene pushed through the fear.
“Coming back, I was scared,” he admitted. “I had that mentality that I need to do this to better myself and for my kids. There were no excuses: I had to do what I had to do.”
SUNY Broome made sense on a number of levels: It’s local, inexpensive and known for high-quality academics. The small class sizes also enabled him to connect with his instructors on a personal level, and master the material.
His professors in the PTA programs proved able guides to his field of study. Another inspiration was psychology Professor Jesse Boring, who gave Greene needed insights on the role of sleep and the brain, and presented subject matter in a way he found easily accessible.
“All of the professors I’ve had have been great and helped push me along,” Greene said.
Long term, he would like to partner with a physical therapist and open a practice alongside his martial arts school. His PTA training also proves beneficial in the dojo, allowing him to modify training for students dealing with injury or other physical restriction, he said.
But that’s on the distant horizon. Right now, it’s time for clinicals – and then graduation, and maybe catching up on some sleep.
So how would Jesse Greene describe his SUNY Broome experience, other than exhausting?
“In a word: fulfilling,” he said.