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Curious nature leads Pickle to psychology

Editor’s Note: Franklin’s Future is a regular feature spotlighting a high school senior in Franklin County and what they have planned for life after graduation.

Vina’s Jessica Pickle, 17, said that even though there can be some drawbacks to attending a smaller school, she believes there are also many advantages to attending a school like Vina High School.
“I really love that this is a close community and that everyone knows each other,” she said. “It’s not a scary place and I feel safe here among people I’ve grown up with.”
The smaller school atmosphere has also allowed Pickle to get involved in several clubs such as Science Club, Students Against Destructive Decisions and Yearbook Staff.
She plays basketball and runs cross-country, where she has made it to the state competition every year, and she was also this year’s Homecoming Queen.
“I’ve done a lot of things in high school, but some of my favorite memories are just the times when we were sitting in class and everyone had gotten their work finished and we just hang out and talk about life,” she said.
“When I graduate, I’ll miss all those time with my friends. I’ll also miss the teachers because they make you feel like you’re somebody and like you’re a real part of the school. I don’t think you’ll have that same kind of connection in college.”
But even though she has enjoyed her high school days, Pickle said she was looking forward to the new challenges college would bring.
“I’m a very independent person, so I’m actually looking forward to having more responsibility,” she said. “I’m also looking forward to the diversity of the students and learning about new things. It will be interesting to see how different college is from high school.”
Pickle said she was planning on attending the University of North Alabama in Florence because it seemed like the best place for her.
“I have always liked UNA and just the size of the campus,” she said. “I wanted to dive right into college and not go to a junior college first, but I also didn’t want to go to a really big college where I would get lost in the crowd.
“UNA still seems small enough that it will offer that close-knit sense of community I’m used to but will also offer all the things any other four-year college would offer.”
While at UNA, Pickle said she plans to major in psychology with the hopes of becoming a forensic psychologist.
“I’m just a curious person by nature, and I just want to know why people do the things they do and why they think the things they think,” she said.
“The criminal aspect of psychology and why people commit certain crimes just seems like it would be very interesting, so that’s what I hope to do.”
But Pickle said she had a back up plan if those aspirations didn’t exactly pan out.
“If I can’t be a forensic psychologist, I wouldn’t mind just being a regular shrink and helping people with their problems,” she said.
When she graduates from college, Pickle said where she chooses to settle down will depend on the type of job she has.
“I would probably need to live in a bigger city if I am going to be a forensic psychologist,” she said. “If I settle down in Franklin County, I’ll probably choose being a regular psychologist and just set up an office where I can help people locally.”
Pickle said she has enjoyed growing up in Franklin County and wouldn’t mind living here in the future.
“All my family is here and I’ve grown up here my whole life so this just feels like home,” she said.
“Nothing bad ever really happens here either and the community is close so I think it’s a good place to live.”
When she isn’t planning for her future, Pickle said she likes to use her free time to hang out with her friends and read, especially educational material and biographies.
“I think school is very important and that’s the best advice I could give to anyone – go to school and don’t give up,” she said. “In this day and time, an education is so important.”
Pickle is the daughter of David and Rhonda Pickle and she has a younger brother named Dakota.