At 98 years old, Jimmy Carter is the oldest living American to have served as president. Many Drexel University students, including myself, did not live through Carter’s presidency. Many people may only now be learning about the incredible life of Jimmy Carter, who entered home hospice care in his Georgia home earlier this year. Carter was elected president at the age of 52 after the 1976 presidential election against incumbent President Gerald Ford. His presidency suffered from a series of setbacks including the Iran hostage crisis and a recession in 1980, the same year he campaigned against and lost to Ronald Reagan, who succeeded him as president. Despite these setbacks, Carter went on to do many great things following the end of his presidency.
After his 1980 loss to Reagan, Carter and his wife returned to Georgia where they eventually began earning an income off writing books. In 1982, Jimmy Carter founded a not-for-profit organization known as the Carter Center. The goal of the center, which still exists today, is to advance human rights and alleviate human suffering. After leaving public office, Carter had a long list of successes including combating Guinea worm disease in Africa, working with Habitat for Humanity and acting as an advocate for various social causes around the world. Many historians praise Carter for his work following the end of his time as president of the United States.
As students, we can learn something valuable about success from Jimmy Carter. Many students spend four years in university, the same amount of time Carter spent in the White House. During that four-year period, Carter had plenty of setbacks just as many students may have setbacks while they attempt to get their degree. Some students will experience difficult personal issues during their time in university. They will have their own issues just like Carter when he was president. Jimmy Carter’s life can teach us a lot about our own. These four years are important, but they’re not everything. When I was an undergraduate, I was an average student. I did a lot of things, but I was never incredible at any of them. It was after I graduated and entered the working world that I really excelled. Just like President Carter, those four years of my life didn’t define who I was. No matter how good or bad you are at studying you can still be successful in the future. Four years in our 20s do not define the rest of our lives.
We can all learn an important lesson from President Carter and his incredible life. That lesson is that what we do here at Drexel University is important, but it will not define what we are capable of going into the future. Just like Jimmy Carter, we get four years to do our best, and the rest of our lives to be the best.