After hearing your role models and aspirations in life, my question is, why are you a product manager in tech?

I stared at my new mentor at work and laughed.

Wow it took her no time to reflect this back to me.” I thought to myself.

There is some bitterness in my laugh. I know I have been denying something in myself for the longest time. I have felt that I had one foot in, one foot out this entire time. …


A few days ago, I noticed that the disorder in the shared space in my apartment is getting on my nerves. I saw cookies crumbles and cheese bits lying around on the kitchen counter, used pots not washed overnight, and weekly chores still not done after 3 days. I am a neat person and have a higher need for tidiness compared to my guy housemates, who are also my close friends. I didn’t think my standard was unreasonable. If you see the disastrous kitchen after one of my housemates cooks, you’d sympathize with me. Though anger is an emotion I…


Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Loneliness hit me a few days ago when my roommates were out with their friends and I didn’t have any social interaction planned for the day. I opened Facebook and scrolled through a dozen friends. I didn’t feel close to anyone so I ended up closing the app. I spent the rest of the night spiraling down, saddened by the realization that I had almost no close friends.

This story is quite representative of how I feel about friendships around me. It took me a while to realize what’s wrong: First, friendships are abundant but lack depth. I have a…


Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

4 months ago, my quarter life crisis hit. The nagging feeling of not knowing the future brought me anxiety: I was concerned if I was doing the wrong thing every day; I felt demoralized and drained.

As I sat down this afternoon and tuned into my worries for the future, I arrived at the insight that there is no point worrying about the outcome of an event. The only thing I can worry about is whether I am acting to my best ability in the moment. This seems to be all there is that I can control. …


Micro-experiments for a fulfilling life

Photo by ian dooley on Unsplash

A combination of the lockdown and life being relatively stable makes me itch for inspirations. The funny thing is I have been at my current job for 1.5 years, which is exactly the longest consecutive duration I have stayed in college before taking time off for Mexico and the UK. The same desire of exploring the unknown and fantasizing what life could be swelled up again.

After a three-month quarter-life exploration, I realized that soul-searching doesn’t mean I need to quit my job and radically consider a different career path. It might just mean that…


Two weeks ago, I started volunteering as a listener on an anonymous mental health app called 7Cups. I have struggled here and there with mental health. Having had others lifted me up, I finally felt I was in a position to offer help myself. In the wake of the pandemic, mental health demand is surging: texts to a federal emergency mental-health line were up 1,000 percent in April compared to the year before.

On the app, one stranger after another told me about their struggles: relationship, loneliness, work stress, loss… The commonality in their stories is that almost all of…


In January 2018, I went on a 10-day silent meditation retreat and experienced oneness with the universe for the first time. It was a surreal embodied experience of the self dissolving and becoming a united whole with the surroundings. In that moment, I was convinced that there is some fundamental truth in our unity that we can’t see or touch from our normal consciousness, but is there nevertheless.

After obtaining this insight, it didn’t take much effort to convince myself, a meat lover, to turn into a vegetarian. I also became an activist on a variety of existential issues that…


Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

On July 6, 2020, ICE announced restrictions on student visas if schools were to go fully online. Many of my international communities instantly went into chaos. Having previously been on an F-1 student visa for 7 years, I know that anxiety too well.

When the world strips you off your humanity, I feel that there is nothing I can do but to tell my story. I want to share what it took for me to be where I am today. I want us to find common ground: that we are all human with families, dreams, and feelings. I want to…


Key ideas from The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt

Until a couple of years ago, I did not understand the left-right debate. Frankly, I didn’t care. It’s American politics and I am not American so it’s not my business.

I didn’t care until it did become my business. First, Trump got elected. I was a junior in college back then, rushing out of the library from preparing for finals to that gigantic Wellesley gym where we set up a celebration for Hillary Clinton’s victory, only to see students and alumnae crying on each others’ shoulders. Classes were cancelled the next…


Photo by Lukasz Szmigiel on Unsplash

In our discussions of topics such as racism, environmentalism, and immigration, we often neglect to discuss a key question: “why should I care?”. I had never been challenged with this hard question before, until I was — three times in a row. I fell silent each time. I did have an answer, but not a particularly convincing one. Frustrated, I decided to revisit Stoicism through Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations and Adlerian psychology through The Courage to be Disliked, and was thrilled to gain this insight:

To care or not is a choice we actively make, choosing the type of relationship we…

Mojia Shen

PM in the day, Philosophy at night. Wish to open, awaken, and strengthen minds.

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