Reed looks to future in psychology

Sunlight poured through the large window and filled the room with bright light, bouncing off the crystals that line the windowsill. The room was saturated with the strong smell of sage and sat casually on her couch dressed in a blue shirt and sporting matching blue eyeliner, senior nursing major Danika Reed said that blue is her favorite color.

“Blue is definitely my favorite color, seconded by purple, and thirded by pink,” said Reed.

At the foot of the couch, a large gray suitcase sat.

“That’s my D&D suitcase,” said Reed “It’s only D&D stuff in there.”

Reed is Waynesburg University’s Role-Playing Games Club president.

Reed was originally introduced to role-playing games online before she started here at Waynesburg University. Originally from Bedford, PA., Reed describes the town as  “the definition of small town mentality.”

“It’s [RPG games] something I’ve wanted to do for a while but I never got the chance to because the small town – D&D is demonic,” said Reed.

Dreaming of the future, Reed said that she would love to travel and move away from her hometown or potentially move abroad.

Reed said that her and her partner love French cuisine. “We talked about saving up and in the future doing a vacation in France just doing cooking classes,” said Reed. “My favorite sound is probably the sizzle of a skillet when I’m cooking. I really like to cook,” said Reed.

Reed’s ambitions go beyond traveling. She said that her dream is to one day be a nursing manager or charge nurse at a psychiatric facility.

“By being in that position, I hope to make changes that benefit the psych patients’ lives,” said Reed.

Reed is determined to achieve her dream of traveling and working as a psychiatric nurse. She said that the only things standing in her way are “a piece of paper and a test.”

Reed’s passion to be in the medical field started at a young age.

“The most influential factor being my dad who is an in-home health physical therapist, and I’ve grown up around the medical field. I always found anatomy, physiology, just everything about the human body very fascinating,” said Reed.

Reed said that members of her family have been working in the medical field for generations, not just her father.

“Another part of it one could argue in the nature versus nurture argument that almost every single one of my female ancestors on my dad’s side were nurses or in some way related to the medical profession. Part of it just feels innate in me,” said Reed.

During Reed’s first semester at Waynesburg University, she said that she realized she has a love for psychology.

“I called my parents and had a full-on breakdown cause I was taking psych classes and I really liked psych and I was like ‘I don’t know if I’m here because you told me to be here or if I wanted to be here’ and it was a very long collapse of who I was,” said Reed. “They talked to me and I thought about it for a few days and then I was informed that psych nursing is a thing.”

When Reed realized her love for mental health, she immediately acted on it. She has done Q.P.R. training for suicide prevention, was part of a psychiatric nursing clinic her junior year and was a member of Peer Leaders.

Reed said her favorite memory here at Waynesburg was freshman year when she used chalk to write uplifting phrases on the sidewalks around campus one night.

“On each block, we wrote happy messages,” said Reed. “Things like, you are enough, you are loved.”

Learning about her passion to help and uplift others along with becoming the leader of the RPG club are not the only things Reed has accomplished during her time at Waynesburg University. Reed said that she has learned a lot about herself over the years.

“In high school, you have a high school persona, then you graduate and realize the world is bigger than high school,” said Reed. “I feel like that started the process of me becoming who I truly was.”

Reed said that there were multiple moments that changed the trajectory of her life. One of them was being diagnosed with cyclothymia and anxiety sophomore year of college.

“That [the diagnosis] combined with me finally getting out of an emotionally abusive relationship kind of broke me mentally and forced me to start to care for myself more than I already have been,” said Reed. “I walked out of the psychiatrist and I sat in my car and immediately started crying and it was like ‘I’m not crazy, something is wrong, but I can do something about it. I can manage my symptoms, start working in a way that best fits me.’”

Despite the hard times during her college career, Reed said that her last semester is going well.

“Besides RPG club, I dance is Sting Swing,” Reed said, “In my free time I like to shuffle cards, go on a walk, write poems.”

Reed said that she is able to summarize her years at Waynesburg University. “Year 1 was ‘who am I?’ Year 2 was all forms of my previous self being broken down. Year 3 was anger and passion. Year 4 is peace and healing. I feel like everyone goes through some phase of that in their life.” said Reed. “If you get out of your comfort zone and have the ability to leave where you grew up and just go somewhere else, it’s amazing and it opens your mind.”