When I first began my studies as a Computer Science student, I felt overwhelmed because I was coming in with no programming experience. I constantly felt discouraged in the classroom because I never understood what was going on. This started negatively affecting my mental health. I created Balance as a support system/tool for HBCU women studying computer science, designed to help them balance their academics outside the classroom as well as tending to their physical and mental health because it’s easy to forget that we need to take care of ourselves, due to all of the stress from college. Another reason why this is targeted at HBCU women is due to the fact that when I go to technical interviews for companies such as Microsoft, Google, IBM, etc, I can see that I am always one of the few Black women in the room (sometimes even the only one). I've gotten told by recruiters that the students they recruit from HBCUs haven't been passing the technical tests required to move on to the next level. I believe this app will especially be beneficial for first and second years HBCU women in Computer Science.
How it works:
When you first open the app, you are met with two buttons: Academics (blue) and Health (pink).
Academics -Academic sessions catered towards the student's current year of study (sessions such as Recursion, Binary Trees, Hash Maps, Deleting a node from a Linked List, etc). -Calendar with an agenda, listing tasks and reminders. -Flash Cards for relevant vocabulary -Technical Questions catered towards the student's current classes and sessions -Discussion Board for extra help (completely anonymous) -Recent Scholarship and Internship Opportunities
Health -Physical and Mental Health audio sessions such as Meditation, Dealing with Anxiety, Choosing the right diet plan, Mental Training, etc. -Personalized Health and Fitness Plan -Message Board revolved around a range of subjects (Stress, sleep schedule, sexual health, Skin Care, Relationship advice, etc). Completely anonymous. -Journal for everyday thoughts
There will also be alerts sent to a users phone if: -A user hasn't been on the app in awhile. We all know how it gets in college. I set it up so that an inspirational quote is sent to the user's phone, along with a friendly reminder to return to the app.
-If the user's Academic stats are at a higher percentage than the health one (More than 60%) than a reminder is sent for the user to visit the Health section of the app and attend those sessions as well.
How I built it: I built this idea using Figma which is a wire-frame platform. This consisted of a lot of YouTube video watching.
Challenges I ran into: The main problem I ran into was designing the layout of each frame...UX design really isn't my thing, so it definitely involved a lot of research. Also, I've never been great with public speaking or making presentations, so knowing that I will be presenting by myself definitely made me nervous!
Accomplishments that I'm proud of: I'm just proud of the fact that I was able to get this all done. This is my first time working at a Hackathon by myself, so I wasn't too sure if I was going to be able to finish it all on time. There is still more I'd like to do with the application but I believe this is great for now.
What I learned: I definitely learned the importance of time management and planning BEFORE you start designing.
What's next for Balance: I really want to work on getting this application implemented in HBCUs.