Ben Diggan is a junior communications major at Elizabethtown College. He grew up in Watsontown, Pennsylvania with his mother and his grandparents. Despite early setbacks and a difficult family situation, he managed to mature at a young age and overcome all the obstacles in his life thus far.
Ben’s childhood wasn’t a typical one. He was born with profound hearing loss in his left ear and it made making friends in elementary and middle school very difficult. He struggled with accepting he was nearly half deaf and it didn’t help that he was the only child in grades K-12 with a hearing issue. Kids at school didn’t think he was able to hear at all because of his aid, but luckily that unknowing led him to meet one of his life-long best friends. In second grade, he sat next to a girl named Chloe in the back of the classroom and every day she would repeat what the teacher was saying because she thought he was unable to hear him sitting all the way in the back. Eventually, she found out that he was perfectly capable of hearing, but they continued to form a friendship based around the sincere gesture.
Even though Ben had Chloe to get him through his days at school, his family life wasn’t ideal. His mother is completely deaf and it forced him to grow up at a much quicker pace then the kids around him. At seven years old, not only did he have to fill the male role in his household, but he also had to assist his mother in communicating to people outside the house. Ben didn’t let these challenges stand in his way, and although they may have slightly hindered his childhood, he continued pushing on in in a positive direction.
Throughout his middle school and high school years he developed more friendships and started to form into the person he is today. He became interested in teaching education and went into college with that as his main focus. Unfortunately, a bad job shadowing experience turned him away from teaching early on. At the time, Ben was upset because he didn’t know what path he wanted to take his career in, but now he looks back on it as the defining moment in his future.
Ben’s growing discontent led him to call his uncle, a Princeton graduate, for advice about his future. His uncle started to ask him questions relating to marketing and Ben found that he was able to answer the questions remarkably easily. After helping his mother communicate to people his whole life he decided that he wanted to pursue a career that combined his marketing knowledge and social skills. Soon, he spoke to his advisor and two of his best friends about his interest in marketing communications and began on the path to his future. It would’ve been easy for Ben to give up at an early age, but he persevered, helped his family, and in his words, “hasn’t looked back since.”