The entire team assembled by chance. For all of us, we had little experience with coding prior to this event, and it was the first hackathon for everyone. But we became friends and close teammates in no time.
We began by brainstorming ideas for our hack. Though there were plenty of potential projects, the one that caught our eye most was an online study session network, where users could set up study sessions with fellow students remotely. It was inspired by an offhanded statement about procrastination and how studying alongside someone could pressure you to focus. However, this hackathon definitely taught us that the smallest ideas can grow into the biggest of realities.
After all, this simple idea soon consumed the next 15 or so hours for the entire team, leaving some of us with practically no sleep. The challenges we faced were enormous obstacles for even our mentors (shout out to Shaun and Tim) -- including using web sockets to create chatrooms and attempting to develop an authentication system. These were all concepts we had hardly heard of, much less practiced, but here we were, pushing the boundaries of our mental strength and our technical skill.
While it was dishearteningly slow progress for a majority of the day, sudden breakthroughs near midnight gave us hope that we would finish. This ranged from being able to link our existing website to the socket.io files to making all the photos on the page the same darn size! For all of us, who (as mostly tired high school students) believed sincerely in making academia a collaborative and positive experience, managing to come out with a functioning product that we could all relate to was a dream come true. Even despite a long day of setbacks and our inability to implement some features which we had wanted, we had surpassed our expectations for the function of the chat system (it was able to legitimately communicate with multiple devices!) and felt satisfied by the solidity of our concept.
At the end of the day, we're happy with what we made and hopeful that one day it might develop into something that can help out all those tired students out there.