10 May 22
ASPID student Artem Cheshkov has overcome a multitude of challenges on his path to graduation.
CONSIDER ARTEM CHESHKOV’S DAILY SCHEDULE: After putting in a full day attending courses and working in the lab as part of Ostrow’s Advanced Standing Program for International Dentists (ASPID), he heads over to Bright Horizons Daycare to pick up his 3-year-old daughter, Keira, by 6 p.m. The first thing they do once they get home is call “Mommy,” Cheshkov’s wife, who is currently living in Boston and is three hours ahead. For the past year, Cheshkov has been taking care of Keira while his wife finishes her own program for international dentists. His wife does visit on weekends when time allows.
“Then we have playtime, she takes a bath, we read books, and then she goes to sleep,” Cheshkov says. “And by the end of the day, I have one or two hours left so I can study and prepare. It’s enough for me.”
This scenario may sound like a challenge for those on the outside looking in, but for Cheshkov, who will graduate this spring, he says, “I have no other option.”
After practicing dentistry for five years in his native country, Russia, Cheshkov moved with his wife to New York in 2019. A month later, Keira was born.
“Everything was for her,” he shares. “At that time, we didn’t know our future or what we were going to do. In Russia, I was a doctor. Here, I was no one.”
Their move was spurred by a number of reasons, including burnout and the political situation in Russia, which has only intensified since they left.
Cheshkov’s extended family still lives in Moscow — his parents, grandparents and brother — which weighs heavily on his mind. “I’m terrified about the war and the innocent Ukrainian people,” he says. “And I’m terrified about the people back in my country. I have a lot of people I’m missing, and I worry about them. I really cannot see any decent and common sense solution to the problem.”
Fortunately, Cheshkov hasn’t experienced any backlash in the United States as a result of being Russian. “As for the university and the people there, they never treat me differently because of my nationality, so I haven’t had any issues with that,” he says.
Once he graduates in May, Cheshkov will move to Boston to be with his wife, who still has a year left in her program. Eventually, the family will end up in New York.
“It has been a challenge,” Artem says, reflecting on the past two years. “Being alone with a 3-year-old kid, I learned that I just have to be patient.”
While he realizes the responsibilities that come with parenthood can mean having to pass on class gatherings or opportunities to gain more educational experiences, he wouldn’t change a thing.
“I have a surfboard here, which I have only been able to use once in several months,” Cheshkov says, with a laugh. “But it’s not a big deal compared to what I have — the bonding I got with my daughter.”
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