Hello! My name is Kyla Turner, and I am a graduating senior here at Chapman University. I am a Strategic and Corporate Communication major, double minoring in Psychology and Creative and Cultural Industries, and for the past year, I have been fortunate enough to intern alongside the Corporate Communication team at Fortinet, located in Sunnyvale, California. Fortinet is an American multinational company that develops and sells cybersecurity solutions, such as physical firewalls, antivirus software, intrusion prevention systems, and endpoint security components. In my role, I assist in the maintenance of all social media platforms, create social media content, help oversee their blog page, and draft once-weekly reports of all media mentions. 

Fortinet’s Newly Renovated Headquarters located in Sunnyvale, California.

As I mentioned, I have been with Fortinet for almost a year, and have learned a lot along the way. During both the fall and spring semester, I worked half-days in the morning, and took classes in the late afternoon and evening. The experience working alongside a real team in the real working world is exactly what I wanted out of an internship, and it’s exactly what I got. The beginning days of my internship, however, were terrifying for this very reason. With little to no experience, I was being tasked with completing assignments that directly impacted the company. But as I continued to grow and learn in my position, I watched my skills sharpen, and my day-to-day tasks became muscle memory. Before I knew it, rather than simply going through the motions, I was actually starting to understand and enjoy the process. But, it wasn’t always this way. So, I have put together a few tips that helped keep me motivated and excited throughout my internship experience. Of course, everyone’s experience is different, but this is what I feel helped me.

Meet with Your Supervisor (Often)

My boss and I meet on a once weekly basis. Whether it be to discuss my progress, check-in on my projects and responsibilities, or simply chat about what’s next, he has been a huge support system throughout this program, and I recommend you do the same in your internship. I used this time to ask questions, check-in on the progress of my work, and discuss what’s next.

Get to Know Your Coworkers

Meeting one of my coworkers, Jasmine, in San Diego!

Meeting one of my coworkers, Jasmine, in San Diego!

Creating relationships with your coworkers will not only make the internship more enjoyable, but it will also make you a team player. The culture of the team is often very important, and people like to be connected to their teammates. I found that the first few minutes of our meetings were spent conversing with one another. Whether it be catching up on our weekends, or talking about what we made for lunch, it’s nice to know that you have a relationship with your coworkers outside of work.

Ask for Help

Prior to my internship at Fortinet, I was an intern at an event management company called AKJohnston. As a sophomore in college, it took me a while to come out of my shell, because this was my first experience interning. I was still adjusting to the ‘real world,’ and was reluctant to put all of myself out there, since my work was directly impacting the company. That said, I struggled to be vulnerable and ask questions. For some reason, I felt as though asking questions would make me seem as if I didn’t know what I was doing. But in reality, it showed that I cared about succeeding on my assignments.  

Create a Routine

On a more personal level, I feel as though creating routine in my life has been a critical part of my success. I worked half days everyday, and it was important for me to still prioritize the things I needed to accomplish before work, such as working out, showering, making myself breakfast and (of course!) coffee. This helps me feel grounded, and allows a little bit of me time before logging on each morning. 

My internship experience was invaluable at the least. I was lucky enough to create relationships with my coworkers beyond our daily tasks, making my experience very enjoyable. I wish you the very best of luck on your future endeavors, and hope these additional resources can help you along the way!