From the start, our team knew we wanted to create a project that serves the needs of others. We brainstormed many ideas, but eventually narrowed them down to one we considered meaningful to ourselves and one we thought to be shared by many people. Being a team of current freshmen, we purposely chose to tackle the issues faced by first year college students. Among these issues, we were motivated to help relieve loneliness and overwhelmed feelings.

What We Learned and How We Built ReConnect

Through this experience, we acquired and built upon many new skills. Most importantly, we learned how to operate collaboratively as a team. Rather than one person working alone, we had four minds working together, and thus at times had to compromise our own ideas. Instead of executing our project straight away, we discussed and thoroughly planned ideas, and lastly delegated the work so that we could efficiently accomplish as much as possible. Excitingly, our programming skills increased tenfold. We worked in HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and Python, and each of us had a language or two that we had little to no experience in. None of us had worked with APIs, so we also learned about this new platform.

Challenges we ran into

Challenges were constant. Firstly, each of us individually struggled in working with the languages we did not have as much experience in. Along with this, our inexperience and lack of knowledge in creating a button which toggled another action, repeatedly created bugs. And, of course, the time constraint was a challenge.

What's next for ReConnect

Because of this time constraint, we did not achieve everything we had hoped for. One thing we would add is incorporating more emotions to the platform besides lonely and happy to be able to cater to more people. Along with this, we would add third party resources such as meditation apps or support groups based on responses. We would also like to make the app more interactive and add a text to speech API so that rather than people reading something on their screen, they are actually talking to a bot. Lastly, we would improve our point system--an idea we had was having a plant which grows slightly for each point increase.

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