Yocheved Dekhkanov – her story

I came to America in 1993, a week before my 7th birthday. I remember going to school less than a month after coming to the US. I had a small class of about 7-8 students who also came from the Uzbekistan. It was challenging to communicate with my teachers, but within in a few short months, I was able to learn English.
I remember myself as a very studious child. Always eager to learn and always strived to get that 100%. If I did something I wanted to put in my all. I have always dreamt of becoming a lawyer or a doctor. Education was always a very top priority.
In 11th grade, my life completely changed. I was no longer able to finish school. I met my husband. We became inseparable. We got engaged shortly after. After getting engaged I got a call from my school that I was no longer allowed back. As excited as I was to have met my life’s partner, fear came over me. I now had no high school diploma. My dreams of having a career were now at stake.
As hard as it was, I was determined. I kept reminding myself, that in life one can achieve anything they set their mind to. That nothing is an obstacle unless we make it an obstacle. It wasn’t an easy road ahead. I had a child shortly after and continued to attend college for my GED. I tried to get into multiple programs but had a very hard time at first because I had no SAT scores and no high school diploma. I got my GED. A year after getting my GED, I had my second child.
After getting my bachelors degree in science, I was accepted into the Physican Assistant Program. To say the least, it was the hardest few years of my life. School was very intense. The pressure was on. It was more challenging being that I had 2 children who were still infants. There were many times where it felt easier to quit then to continue under such pressure. But then in the middle of the PA program something unthinkable happened.
It happened around Pesach. I still remember that day as if it was yesterday. The day I got that terrible phone call… The call that changed my life forever.
It was an ordinary day, I was studying for one of my exams. Then I got a knock at my front door, it was my neighbor holding a phone in her hands. My phone wasn’t working. I was told that my niece never woke up that morning.
It felt like a bad dream. I drove straight to my sister’s house. It was a very busy scene. Its very hard to see anyone go through something so painful, especially someone so close to you. My niece passed on the morning of her 3rd birthday.All I could think of at that moment was why?? Why did something like this happen?
We can question a lot of things but we will never know these answers. It was after going through that pain of losing a loved one that I realized more than ever, that I must stay strong and not quit despite the hardships. It was after that terrible experience that I wanted that medical degree more then ever before. I finally graduated the PA program June 2010.
We can all learn from our tough moments. We can learn that life isn’t fair, we can think, why do bad things happen to good people? Or we can learn that life is full of surprises, some arent such pleasant ones. We can learn that every pain we experience can be transferred to strength. We can learn that sometimes it is through our challenges that we become resilient and more determined than ever to achieve our goal.