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Why I Wanted to Be a Nun as a Child

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at KU chapter.

Look, we all wanted to run away and join the nunnery at some point in our lives. Right?

No? Just me? Disclaimer: I am NOT Catholic. I have never BEEN Catholic. I’m just as confused as you are.

Nevertheless, here are the three reasons my childhood dream career was to be a nun.

  1. Love and Maybe Jealousy

One thing about me, I’ve always looked up to my older cousin. This girl spoke and I took it as gospel. I thought she was probably the coolest person to walk the Earth (and still do). The biggest difference between us—other than my childhood shyness and her social prowess—she went to Catholic school. I was SO jealous. I desperately wanted us to have everything in common and this was a major issue. My side of the family was adamantly not Catholic—barely even religious—and I had no idea how I was going to swing this.

One day, my cousin told me that, in class, they got to choose the names they would take if they joined the nunnery. Sister Something, I can’t remember. And I’m sitting there thinking, They get to be in a cool club together??? No way. I have to join. Did I understand the complexities of conversion? No. Did I care? Not in the slightest.

It didn’t even matter to me that my cousin had no intention of becoming a nun. (I imagine her laughing now at the entire idea of this.) I only saw the possibility of us becoming closer. Regardless, the seed had been planted, and I decided at the totally mentally developed age of 10 to abandon my faithless ways and become a nun.

2. Career Anxiety at the Age of 9

Of course, my love for my cousin alone would not have been enough to push me into the nunnery, despite the excitement it sparked in me. Since my childhood, and maybe even the time spent in utero, I’ve had a severe anxiety about my future. My most hated, most dreaded question: what do you want to be when you grow up?

If you asked me that, I probably blacked out and spewed whatever nonsense was sitting at the top of my frontal lobe. I told people anything I thought they wanted to hear—I wanted to be a lawyer, a doctor, a singer, an architect, a farmer, an astronaut. Honestly, I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I felt like the entire world was waiting with bated breath for my answer and if I answered wrong, I’d simply explode.

At a Girl Scout meeting, shoutout troop #1448, our big focus was our dream careers. We were each tasked with bringing a representative item of that career. It would have been so easy for me to bring one of my mom’s many stethoscopes. Naturally, I brought a hammer and claimed last minute that it was because I wanted to be an architect (Annabeth Chase stans, I know you’re out there).

Unfortunately, the hammer was removed from my possession during the meeting for the safety of everyone present and I had a total meltdown on the way home. Rage boiled up inside of me, exploding all over the interior of our sticker covered minivan. I was, from that moment, entirely hateful towards any instance of career prep—talks of career planning made me feel like a vicious sewer rat.

So, when the nun idea popped into my head, it was wonderfully easy to accept. All my life decisions would be in the hands of God (who I didn’t even believe in, but I was willing to ignore that tiny detail). I would have a job—no more crisis!—and maybe, just maybe, my cousin would think I was awesome.

3. They Have Some Serious Drip

Let’s be totally candid—Pope Francis is a style icon. Him and his people have seriously figured out how to balance class and gaudy opulence. It totally works. And the nun? Classic, understated, comfortable, even chic—what more could anyone want in a job uniform?

Anyway, I never did convert and become a nun, thanks mom and dad. But, hey, if this writing thing doesn’t work out, you’ll know where to find me.  

Ashleigh is a junior studying English and history. She loves to spend time outdoors with friends and family. She loves reading and listening to music, favorite artists including Greta Van Fleet and Seventeen.