From awkward Zoom breakout room experiences to monotonous online learning environments, the COVID-19 pandemic has limited our capacity to develop social bonds with our peers. Our rocky transition back into in-person learning and the resulting social awkwardness has inspired us to create Zociety: a web application that aims to foster the development of social connections through answering stimulating questions and completing challenges.

Throughout the 36 hours, we learned many new technologies, but more importantly how to communicate and collaborate effectively. For instance, to avoid merge conflicts on git, we had to clearly divide and define the tasks of each member of our team. Moreover, we would frequently check in with each other to ensure that we were all on the same page and offer help if one of our teammates were struggling. In addition, we had the opportunity to learn unfamiliar tools such as React and Firebase. Through developing an app with the goal of strengthening social bonds, we also developed stronger bonds with each other, whether it may be from bouncing ideas off each other during long coding sessions or sharing laughs during snack breaks.

We entered the hackathon uncertain of what project we wanted to create. We spent most of Friday brainstorming ideas and eventually assembling a prototype of the user interface on Figma. Through experimentation, hours of coding, and collaboration, we constructed Zotciety using HTML, CSS, JavaScript, React, Bootstrap, and Firebase.

One of the biggest challenges that we faced was learning new frameworks and technologies like React and Firebase in 36 hours. With little to no prior knowledge in these areas, we were encouraged to ask for assistance among our team and from surrounding mentors. It was also challenging to read the extensive documentation of these programming tools and apply the information we absorbed into our project.

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