Leaving Cert Sample Personal Essay

Leaving Cert Sample Personal Essay



This personal essay was originally submitted by a student of mine. The topic up for discussion was ‘the power the fashion industry has over young peoples lives today’. This student decided to outline both the positive and negative power the industry has in young peoples lives. The student planned this essay out and decided to draw on elements of pop culture and personal anecdotes in order to express and support their points and opinions.


Why this is a Successful Personal Essay:

This personal essay would pick up marks for the following:

  • Consistently referring back to the topic up for discussion
  • Outlining both sides of the argument (positives and negatives)
  • Personal anecdotes
  • Reinforcing phrases such as ‘I believe’, ‘I feel, and ‘In my opinion’
  • Presenting a journey of discovery in relation to the topic
  • Concluding with a more universal understanding/insight into the topic being discussed
  • Wide range of vocabulary 
  • Very clear expression
  • Referencing pop culture (Zebo, Schwarzenegger, Yeezy etc.)
  • Expressing concerns they have for all young people in relation to the topic
  • Mentioning what they think the future might hold in relation to the topic
  • etc.

The Personal Essay:

I feel that the fashion industry has quite an influence on the lives of todays young people. The majority of people act as though this influence is a purely negative one, but I don’t believe that this is always the case. I am of the opinion that the fashion industry poses as a double-edged sword in terms of how it affects the lives of young people in today’s society.


One aspect of the fashion industry that I have witnessed people abhor is the frequent use of attractive and fit models to promote particular clothing lines. I don’t deem for a second that this hatred is justified as I feel that this image of the ‘ideal body’ can indeed give young people the desire to be healthy. When the consumer observes said attractive model with the perfectly sculpted body it can inspire them, in my opinion, to lead a healthier life of frequent exercise and better diet choices. I believe this, as this is the case with me. The promotion of clothing lines through the use of elite athlete endorsements, such as Simon Zebo and Conor McGregor, has given me, personally, an increased drive to exercise more frequently and eat a better diet. This in turn, has led to me being far healthier and feeling far better, than ever before!


Another positive aspect of the fashion industry’s influence over young people today, more than ever, is its promotion of having a ‘positive body image’. Though this seems to contradict my previous point, the use of ‘plus size’ models sends a simple message to young people; that they don’t need to have muscles like Arnold Schwarzenegger or be stick-thin to look and feel good in clothes. Not everybody strives for these looks, and that’s perfectly fine. You don’t need to have six percent body fat to be both fit and healthy. With the progressive introduction of more ‘plus size’ models by the fashion industry, young people are now, in my opinion, more accepting of the fact that their bodies don’t have to look like that of a Greek god/goddess in order to be healthy. This idea also helps reduce the number of young people developing mental illnesses such as anorexia and bulimia, which I’ve seen happen to my cousin. The introduction of these ‘normal’ models has helped her in realising that the perception of beauty extends a great deal further than just having almost no fat on your body, and for this I am grateful.


Though I believe that the power the fashion industry has over young people today can be positive, I do, however, concede that there are negative aspects to it as well. One such negative aspect is that the use of overly attractive and incredibly fit models can sometimes lend itself to, perhaps indirectly, the promotion of obtaining an unachievable or even unhealthy body. It is very difficult to achieve these kinds of bodies that many of the fashion giants are employing in their promotions. The use of the highly attractive and overly developed muscular models can sometimes go about setting unattainable standards of beauty and perfection. Often, these standards cannot be reached without the supplementation of harmful substances such as steroids and dangerous methods of dieting. I believe that this is one cause of many young peoples eating disorders and can oftentimes lead to problems such as body dysmorphia, particularly amongst impressionable young people.


Another negative aspect of the fashion industry’s power over young people today is its power to encourage that we all conform to a certain look. I’m sure that we’ve all felt a certain pressure to obtain the latest pair of rugby or gaelic boots that everyone else seems to be wearing, or to buy the latest must-have Yeezy product, just because they have a different, cooler, and trendier fit than the last product. This, I feel, just isn’t fair, as most of us cannot afford to buy new clothes every other week. This also leads to bullying in some cases, especially in the context of ‘no uniform’ days in my school. I’ve even seen this happen, to a student who is in my English class. He gets teased and tormented for having clothes that aren’t conforming to the latest trends, set by both social influencers and some of our peers. I have to admit that I am guilty of occasionally thinking less of him, for this! This mind-set that I believe the fashion industry has instilled in us can be quote harmful to young people in today’s society as it adds stress to the already unpleasant experience school brings for some. This in turn has led to some young people becoming ostracised and occasionally has led to all sorts of self-harm. The fact that the fashion industry’s power extends so far is honestly quite terrifying, but its also up to young people today, I feel, to act responsibly and develop their skills when it comes to differentiating between idealism and reality. Young people today must have a more acute awareness when it comes fashion advertising in comparison to the generations who have gone before us.


Overall I acknowledge that the fashion industry has quite a large influence over the lives of young people today. I do believe, however, that it isn’t the malevolent force that many make it out to be. Though I believe it’s partly up to young people to think critically before following what the fashion industry instructs, I concede that the power the industry has needs to be wielded with greater care in the future.

*If you have any questions please ask via the Lee Tutorials Instagram page. Thanks!

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