My First All-Nighter
It seems to be more and more common for students to brag (or complain, regret) about how little sleep they got the previous night. It definitely happened at my highschool and it’s even more prevalent here at CMU. Fortunately, I had been lucky enough to never have to pull an all-nighter…until last weekend when I participated in my first ever hackathon here at CMU. TartanHacks 2015 was a blast and probably one of the most enjoyable all-nighters I’ll ever experience.
It started like any other Friday: classes until 2:20, research meeting at 2:30, bible study at 4:00, dinner at 5:00. Then things got exciting. I waited in line for about 5 minutes, obtained a wristband, and proceeded into the auditorium. I met up with my group and we listened to the sponsors brag about their sweet prizes (read: badass drones, cash money) and convince us that we should use their APIs. Then, we rushed to get dinner (after securing our hack spot of course). The wait for dinner was absurdly long and unfortunately we lost about an hour of valuable hack time, but in the end it turned out not to matter.
Our idea was pretty simple: craigslist, but for rentals. A platform that would allow students to rent out their un(der)used items to fellow students. As simple as it was, it still turned out to be a lot of work. One thing our group struggled with was the division of labor. All the inner workings seemed pretty connected that it didn’t really seem possible to work in parallel. As a result, most of the coding ended up on me while my peers helped me scope out potential APIs and other logistics. I didn’t mind, but I felt kind of bad that I got to have all the fun. This is definitely something I’d like to improve upon in the future.
I think I wrote the first line of code at around 8:30pm Friday night and I had finished a somewhat working application around 9:30am Saturday morning. Luckily I didn’t run into any significant technical challenges throughout the night; I really had a ton of fun. Something about bringing a project from nothing to.. something in such a short period of time was really rewarding. It really affirmed my education/career/life path. Programming is truly something I love.
After hacking had officially ended on Saturday night, there was an expo for everyone to show off the things that they made. To say I was blown away would be an understatement. There were devices made of card board to help the visually impaired see in 3D. There was an augmented-reality version of Asteroids. There were so many things I never would have thought of and yet I wasn’t surprised at all. Hackathons seem to really bring out the most intelligent, creative, awesome people. The kind of people that you just know will be successful.
My team’s app, shown above, didn’t win, but I wasn’t really disappointed. We got some awesome feedback and I had a ton of fun. I was absolutely exhausted and I think I slept for about 14 hours the next day, but it was so worth it. It is definitely an all-nighter I’ll never forget.