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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

New USG Senator, Farha Mithila, Shares Her Past Experience With New Community.


“I want to join [the] undergraduate student senate so I can do something for people. I like helping people,” said Mithila



On Wednesday, September 26, Farha Mithila explained to the UMass Boston Undergraduate Student Senate, in its fall special elections, why she wanted to join. She presented a short speech to the sitting senate members.

“I want to join [the] undergraduate student senate so I can do something for people. I like helping people,” said Mithila.

She also told the assembled senators about herself, that she was a nineteen-year-old freshman biochemistry major, that she lived in Lynn and had graduated the previous spring from Lynn English High School. She also pointed to her experience in politics as a member of the Lynn Youth Council, a group of 25 young Lynn residents supervised by Lynn’s city councillor Brendan Crighton.

Mithila was voted in that day and informed via email the next morning. Now, she is a student senator at UMass and councillor-at-large in Lynn. She described her role with the Lynn council to the Mass Media in an interview. “This was the first time our town did it [had a youth council]. It was a success. We did a job fair. We actually changed the school curriculum.“

Mithila graduated from Lynn English with a 4.06 GPA and 15 AP credits after serving as a member in the science club, the math club, the ROTC, the book club and the photography club. Sometimes she also marched with the marching band. Of her high school, she says “There were lots of opportunities and everything… you know when they say school prepares you? I think my school really prepared me.”

When Mithila came to Massachusetts from Bangladesh two years ago, she did not speak English. To catch up to her classmates, she had to teach herself a new language. “I like getting English. I’m still learning,” she says.

History was also a problem. “From 3rd grade, you start knowing history. You are knowing what’s happening here, but when I came in 11th grade I had no idea about the history. The basic things you know. So it was really hard for me.”

Overwhelmed by schoolwork she didn’t understand in a language she could not speak, Mithila looked to her parents for support. She says, “My family always encourages me. My mom and dad, they always inspire me. They are always helpful.” She took on a lot when she decided to join so many student clubs and community organizations.

Her parents made it clear they were behind her all the way, sometimes tagging along when she had to be away from home. “If I have some meeting, they’ll be someone I can look to. ‘So I have to go there. Do you go with me?’ Even if you think about orientation here. I have orientation, they’re gonna come with me. Anything big I have, they will be there. If I have any problem, they will be there.”

One might expect that given the number and choice of Mithila’s extra-curricular activities that she is building a career in politics, but this is not the case. “Politics, I don’t really understand that much,” she says. “I want to be a doctor because I like helping people.”

Once Mithila is a physician, she does not plan to stop her community involvement—she just plans for it to take a different form. She imagines herself founding charities and attending city council meetings no matter what else is going on in her life, simply as an expression of her civic duty. Mithila explains, “My city is my community now. Here is my community, so maybe I can help them.”