“The learning never stops,” says James Dechavez, ’08, who currently works as a family nurse practitioner at a clinic in Fort Worth. “A diploma doesn’t give you the world. Your ability to continually learn and apply that information helps you to be successful.”
Dechavez actually graduated three times from Southwestern, with an A.S. in General Studies in 2004, a B.S. in Psychology in 2005, and then with his A.S. in nursing in 2008.
“I like to tell people that I liked college A LOT, but to be honest I took my time finding myself and most importantly, who I was in Christ,” he says. “I’m not afraid to say I failed at that a few times. My time at SWAU wasn’t just about pursuing a degree or career. It was about realizing that my purpose was to serve people and my God.”
Dechavez says he made lifelong friendships at Southwestern, including his groomsmen. But in regards to the greatest positive influence, that’s easy for him to say. It was his wife, Karla Lopez Dechavez.
In his current job, Dechavez sees patients two years old and up with a wide variety of ailments. He describes the responsibility as “rewarding, busy and challenging.” Before that, he was a critical care nurse at Texas Health Huguley Hospital, working in the medical intensive care unit.
“Southwestern prepared me for life after college because it’s where I found my identity in Christ what I thought I should be or who the world told me to be,” he says. “When you come to that realization, it’s crazy what God does in your life.”
In retrospect, Dechavez recommends that Southwestern students “stop listening to the haters: those who tell you that you can’t do something. If anything, use that to work harder. I was told I wouldn’t be where I am today. My reply to those people, is, ‘Thank you’!”