Dustin Reed balances being full-time student, employee, wrestler, and father

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Dustin Reed is a man with a lot on his plate. He is a full-time student, a full-time employee, ranked among the top five in the nation for Division II collegiate wrestling, and he is a full-time father.

Juggling all of these facets of life is no small feat, but Reed finds joy and prosperity despite his busy schedule.

He begins his days at 5 a.m. after a night's sleep of five to six hours. Early in the morning he either hits the books or hits the gym, and sometimes both. Then he heads straight to work and afterward comes to class or wrestling practice — which occupies 10 to 20 hours of his week. Sometimes he will have to go back to work for a while and then return to campus for classes and utilizes the time in between to work on homework. At the end of the day, he comes home to spend time with his family along with working on lesson plans to complete his education major.

Reed attributes his success and sanity to his fiance who takes care of their daughter while he is at work, class, anddustin-reeds-family wrestling practice. “She’s the reason I get to do the things I do and be successful in school, wrestling, and work. Without her, I couldn’t juggle all this. It wouldn’t work. She’s been a huge help,” said Reed.

With college and work pulling most of Reed’s attention right now, he is not able to spend as much time with his daughter as he would like. Spending more time with her is the main thing he is looking forward to once he graduates.

One of the keys to staying successful in all areas of his life is learning to structure his time carefully, something he admits all college students have to learn. Reed says there’s no secret to fitting all these tasks into his week while still making time for family, but he says “if you give yourself as much as 30 minutes in between each thing you need to do, then it’s a big help accomplishing things on time.”

With so much to do, Reed has questioned whether his college career and wrestling were worth continuing. “Once you sit down and think about the likelihood that your life being good later on isn’t as high if you quit school, you come to the conclusion you might as well tough it out for a short while to have a better life later.”

Reed’s daughter is also a major factor in helping him stay on track to accomplish his college career. “When you have a little one that’s relying on you," he said, "it pushes you — because I think if I quit something important then it’s going to hinder her from having a good life and I can’t let that happen. My daughter has helped me stay motivated,” said Reed.

He also attributes his and his fiance's parents as positive support. Also, Head Wrestling Coach Ryan Smith has been an important mentor for Reed, not only in the wrestling arena but also in life.

In a few years, he hopes to be an elementary school teacher and also coach high school sports. He knows those dual roles don’t occur very often, but he is determined to make it work. Reed said currently, many coaches in the area are contacting him to be an assistant coach at their schools. He explained that none of the coaches know him personally, but being an All-American Division II athlete ranked in the nation's top five of his sport is beneficial for opening doors for him in the future.

Wrestling has been a part of Reed’s life since he was four. Since that young age he has tried other sports, so he’s willing to coach any sport but hopes to be involved with wrestling since it is his passion.

Reed emphasized the impact sports has had on him. “Sports is what has gotten me through life. It’s helped me figure everything out and I want to give that opportunity back to the kids.”

Reed still has one year of school left due to switching to an education major his sophomore year. This is the last year of his wrestling career on the mats but not in the gymnasium. While finishing school, he will return as the assistant wrestling coach at Newman University.

He says this season is going well and he’s looking forward to the Regional National Tournament, which will take place in Alabama the week before school is out of session for Spring Break in March.

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