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The University of Oregon campus stands empty after all finals become online due to the spread of the coronavirus. (Maddie Knight/Emerald)

“I'm just excited to go into a space where I'm allowed to dance and I have freedom,” Irvin Torres-Hernandez said. “Just so I can find enjoyment in life.”

As counties begin the phases of reopening, students eagerly await the day where they can return to the activities they love. After almost two months of a quarantine mentality, it’s no surprise to see students, like Torres-Hernandez eager to return to some sense of normalcy.

Torres-Hernandez is a second-year student at UO majoring in dance and general social sciences. As a dance student, Torres-Hernandez said he is most excited for dance studios to open. He also shared that he’s excited to visit art museums and movie theaters.

Like many, Torres-Hernandez reflected on the difficulties of being stuck at home.

“The hardest thing has been finding that motivation to keep on going and to not just give up and do nothing,” Torres-Hernandez said. “Being at home, yeah you're comfortable, but you feel trapped at a certain point and then you just don't want to do anything.”

Pashmin Patil, a first-year architecture major at UO, is looking forward to being in another kind of studio. 

As an architecture major, Patil mentioned that one of the biggest challenges of being at home is not having all the tools and space she needs. Lacking the in-person space to work has been difficult, Patil said, but she also mentioned that she has learned to be patient and forgive herself when she gets upset.

Aside from in-person education, Patil noted that she is most excited to resume the “little things” when places open back up.

“I really appreciated the little things. Just hanging out with friends or being able to go to the grocery store without a mask on,” Patil said. “Just being grateful for what we have, and being able to get back to the state that we were in.”

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Michelle Tapia-Hurtado is a political science and philosophy major at the UO. When asked what she is most excited about, Tapia-Hurtado, of course, mentioned going to the grocery store in peace but also said she’s looking forward to bigger plans.

“One of the things that I really hope to do, and which I had planned before all of this happened, was to fly down to Mexico and visit my family,” Tapia-Hurtado said. “I really hope I can go down there ... [and] not be a health risk for everyone in my family.”

Tapia-Hurtado also has moved back home during this time. She said it has definitely been an adjustment but also said that she has created ways to stay motivated.

“I write quotes all over the place for me to look at my dream job, my goals, academic goals,”  Tapia-Hurtado said. “I also have a playlist that whenever I'm just completely feeling down, I like listening to a song or two to get a bit more excited about my schoolwork and more motivated.”

Students aren’t the only ones excited to return to a sense of normalcy. UO President Michael Schill also weighed in on what he is most excited for when places begin to open up.

“I really look forward to interacting with faculty members, seeing and talking to students, and soaking up the positive and hopeful energy that typically radiates from our vibrant campus,” Schill wrote in an email to the Emerald. “I get that this fall probably will not look exactly like a ‘normal’ fall at the University of Oregon because of COVID-19, but I’m eager to try to recapture some of what this virus has taken from our campus and our lives.”

Schill said he is working to make that happen.

“The primary thing I am focused on is making sure we successfully complete the necessary planning to safely and responsibly return to on-campus instruction in the fall,” Schill wrote.