U of A student tackles 52 different 'skillz' in 52 weeks

Made with the best intentions, most New Year's resolutions are forgotten within a few weeks. Not so for Stephen Robinson.

What have you done lately? Stephen Robinson climbs, races and backflips his way through year-long odyssey

Stephen Robinson has tackled skills like mountain climbing, song-writing and even stand-up comedy. (Box Cube Photography )

Made with the best intentions, most New Year's resolutions are forgotten within a few weeks.

Not so for Stephen Robinson, a 22-year-old University of Alberta student,  who delivered on his promise to tackle 52 skills in 52 weeks.

"I didn't know initially going into it, what the whole point of it was. I just had a million skills that I wanted to learn."

To keep himself honest and on track, Robinson started a blog (unofficial skill #1) and taught himself how to edit videos (unofficial skill #2),

During his year-long odyssey, Robinson's skills have run the gamut from the amazing to the absurd.

He's learned how to milk a cow, chug a beer like a frat boy, climb a mountain, survive in the amazon jungle, and dumpster dive for a meal (without his stomach turning).  

If barrel-rolling a plane, and learning how to backflip were high points in the project, spending a night in a Bolivian jail was certainly a low point. And there are some skills, like pole dancing, Robinson doesn't plan on revisiting ever again.

His biggest take away from the entire year? Don't be afraid to fail.

"People's understanding of failure is typically that it's a bad thing, but I think failing it's a really good thing, because to get good at anything, in order to start anything, you have to fail hard," said Robinson.

"The bridge between where you are right now and where you want to be can be bridged by just doing it."

Robinson finalized the entire project by building an intricate Rube Goldberg Machine.

"It's like that game Mouse Trap where there is a chain reaction, and the entire goal is to create an incredibly inefficient machine to accomplish one little task."

The contraption, which is designed to pour a single slug of beer, took Robinson more than a month to build, and then an additional 10 hours to capture the machine in action.


"It was absolute insanity," Robinson said with a laugh.

"I still get PTSD from watching that thing because I spent so much time building that thing, and things were going wrong all the time. We had to reset the thing like 50 times."

Not one to rest on his laurels, Robinson has already started "Season 2" of his project. For 2016, he'll have one aim in mind, prepare for the end of days. He's challenged himself to become a zombie survival expert.

"It's pretty good excuse to have a lot of fun and shoot crossbows."

Robinson will be fine-tuning his zombie survival skills for the 2016 edition of his '52 Skillz' project. (Stephen Robinson )


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