So, I am known for having this weird tendency that some have associated with being rodent-like or raccoon-esque. Paints a good picture, yeah? It isn’t that weird once I elaborate, I’m telling you. Basically, with food that is malleable enough to be molded, I create cubes out of it before I eat it. Yes, I am two years old and still play with my food. For whatever reason, I got into this habit and have just never let it go. Panera Bread for instance. Really good bread — everyone can agree on that. When I get the side of baguette with my broccoli cheddar soup and side salad — healthy, I know — I tear out the doughy center of the baguette and I cube it. Dice-shaped. Nice, smooth edges. Six-sided. And then I eat it. I’ve been known to do this with brownies, cupcakes, the center of pizza crust — just anything with the Play-Doh kind of consistency that can be cubed. I get made fun of all the time for it, and honestly, I’ve just stopped even noticing that it is a thing I do until everyone starts laughing at the fact that I look like a preschooler who doesn’t know what manners are. And guess what, haters? Cubing my food has actually taught me a lesson about myself and about our generation. So listen closely. I’ve noticed — like everyone else, probably — that I have certain tendencies that make me feel more comfortable in an environment for literally no reason. I twist my earrings, for example, during conversation because it gives my hands something to do. Once I noticed that, I began to realize that I like to be occupied, just in general. Even when I’m relaxing, I like to have something mindless to do, like filling in my coloring book or cracking my knuckles. But that realization has changed how I approach several aspects of my life. I’ve noticed it firstly through studying. I have to have my music playing in the background of whatever I may be doing. I cannot be productive unless I have one of my brilliant Spotify playlists drowning out the ambient noises and voices in the background of wherever I park myself for the day. Next, I noticed it with my friends. However we may be hanging out, I have to have myself be occupied in order to be fully present. Sounds totally backwards and wrong, but somehow it works for me. If we are just watching a movie, I will play with someone’s hair or pick the fuzz off of a blanket. If we are going out, I have to have a beat to follow or step to, or else I get lost in the innate grossness of the sticky, dark room that I somehow voluntarily brought myself into. Stick with me here, I’m almost done talking about myself. What I realized from cubing my food is that it truly helps me to be a more aware person. My weird tendencies have showed me how to fully invest myself in people when I’m out at dinner with them. Weirdly enough, when I’m cubing my food, I somehow don’t have enough hands to also be on my phone, staring at the screen that reads “No Older Notifications” trying to look like I’m occupying my time. Yes, I could just put my phone down on my own, but having something to distract myself with allows me to focus my conscious attention on the people I’m with and, simultaneously, have my subconscious also be engaged in some mindless task. As a proud member of Gen Z, I feel like we get a reputation for having poor communication skills, or a deficiency in expressing ourselves. I disagree, biasedly of course. I don’t think our tactical skills in technology take away from our ability to communicate, but rather from our ability to not feel the need to have something going on at all times. Sure, that could be problematic because patience and boredom are just natural parts of life. I truly believe, though, that this is no indication of inadequacy, but of the universal desire to be productive and helpful. Gen Z encompasses first years through fourth years — and most fifth years, too, y’all aren’t being left out. Speaking for all of us, I would say my cubing tendency expresses the shared desire of most of our generation to be purposeful. Some argue that is to a fault — some people have to do the monotonous jobs, we can’t all be the ones changing the world. I would argue that, for me, I would rather a generation of people to want to be purposeful than useless, and even the monotonous jobs are useful in their own right. Overall, I strongly believe that this desire to be occupied — that, I hope and believe, is not just unique to me — demonstrates the overarching desire to make this life matter. This generation grew up with grandparents who had made it through the Great Depression and parents who have fought for their rights and struggled for equality. In a world that desires to see real equality and change, I believe our generation demonstrates this same passion and fervor for making life beautiful even through the little, unnoticed habits that keep the mind occupied and aware. I would argue that to all the haters in my own generation, look a little deeper. And maybe I’m just acting like one of those far-reaching English teachers that looks too deeply into symbols in novels, but I would rather make my cubing trend at least seem symbolic of a larger theme than it just be something weird that I do. So, I told you, cubing my food isn’t that weird. Rather, it is just indicative of this shared, innate desire to make things matter. Next time one of you readers wants to publicly embarrass me for this habit, maybe you’ll think again. Lucie Drahozal is a Life Columnist for The Cavalier Daily. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.