What's the story behind Vent?

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected many students in terms of isolation during online school and the impact it has on mental health. Inspired by personal experiences as students during the pandemic, we wanted to find a way to spread positivity and meet the needs of many young people during this time by creating an outlet for self-expression, support and health tracking.

How does Vent work?

Our project provides information about how virtual schooling impacts students and offers resources that are intended to help students manage their mental and physical health. Our student support bot gives students a place to unload their anxieties, and our deep breathing guide allows students to alleviate some of their stress through meditation. Our health tracker allows students to track the amount of sleep and exercise they are getting, as well as their water intake, ensuring that they are also taking care of their physical health. In addition to helping students maintain their overall well-being, our project provides students with a comprehensive list of resources for academic and mental health support.

How did we build Vent?

Ale and Maria collaborated on Repl.it to write the Python program for the Health Tracker, using their knowledge of reading and writing files and methods to record and display data, and then helped research and collect resources and hyperlink them. Marissa worked in JavaScript to make the breathing meditation, focusing on the mathematics of the shapes and the implementation of sound and images through Processing graphics. Kathy wrote the structure and content of the chat bot in python and then helped reformat the text so that Marissa could adapt it into the JavaScript for the Processing graphics. The basic structure of the website was built by Amelia in HTML, and she created the different pages and hyperlinks and worked to embed the smaller components to create our final project!

What's next for Vent?

Some ideas for moving forward would include making connections with mental health professionals. Although we are qualified to discuss mental health, we do not have enough experience or knowledge to give adequate/appropriate advice . This is why assistance from professionals would be beneficial. Additionally, we would further develop the Student Support Bot. By incorporating AI, instead of just putting out words of encouragement, the bot could give out advice customized to the participant’s input. Another thing that would be helpful would be expanding resources. As we only had a little less than a day to gather information, with more time we can add more resources for users to look into. Finally, we would add different forms of meditation. When it comes to meditation, people have different preferences. Some may like silent breathing exercises, while others enjoy instructed meditation. Incorporating more mediation options will only make Vent better.

Challenges we ran into Obviously, with FemmeHacks being virtual this year, we had to figure out how to work together through technology in creative ways, but it wasn’t always the easiest. Marissa had difficulties with her JavaScript program that adapted Kathy’s python chat bot into a graphic program, but since she was working on a web editor, Kathy couldn’t edit the code with her in real time. Marissa and Kathy worked through google docs to share code formatting, and Marissa was able to get help from a mentor on discord to get rid of all the bugs!

Accomplishments that we're proud of We are most proud of creating the student support bot and the meditation guide because they were both challenging aspects of our project and required a substantial amount of time to code. Figuring out the graphics of the support bot and the sound accompanying the meditation guide were both time-consuming obstacles that Marissa overcame, and we are glad that we have them functioning.

What we learned Our team learned how to complete our project in a virtual environment by increasing communication and collaboration to support each other. Additionally, Kathy helped Marissa to use javascript, a language she was not previously familiar with to complete a bot.

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