Career Connections

Kayla Palm

Major: Kinesiology and Health

Minor/option/emphasis: Health Promotion

Company/Organization: Hilton Head Health
Company/Organization website:
Destination: Hilton Head Island, SC
Timeframe: Summer

Advisor/Coordinator Email:

I was responsible for...
At H3 the interns job title is a fitness associate. We are in charge of helping assist classes, teaching a few classes per week, cleaning equipment/exercise areas, transport guests to different activities/excursions, participate in recreational activities such as kayaking/paddle boarding/dolphin tours/shopping. As an intern there is a lot of organizing responsibility to help keep the flow of the company. One of the major tasks that interns alternate between one another is creating the guest doc (which is a packet with each guests photo, their risks, how long they are staying, etc.) and also making sure that first aide is stocked for use of trainers and staff. My job was to make sure that the guests had a great time and everything was clean and organized.

I accomplished...
My greatest accomplishment was touching the lives people in the fitness career. There is more to fitness than eating healthy and exercising. I learned that most of the guests I worked with came to Hilton Head Health because of a major tragedy in their life that has set them off course and kept them from achieving their goals. One of the greatest accomplishments I had was helping a woman see her self worth through the loss of her young son to an accident. It was extremely rewarding to me to be the person who helped her see purpose in her life again. This experience is what pushed me to really consider opening my own gym! I have been told by many guests that I have made a huge difference in their lives, and I want to continue to do that for the rest of my life. I now have a 5 year goal to open my own gym in that time. I accomplished getting over my fears, and feeling the utmost reward for putting myself wholeheartedly into this experience.

I learned...
Being far from home, not knowing a single person, and only having my car packed with clothes taught me how to be extremely independent. This was super important to me because I learned a lot about myself in the past 16 weeks here at H3. I think that outside of finding my passion in life, my greatest lesson learned was more focused on my own growth from having the opportunity to intern here. I have learned to dig deep into myself and figure out what I want out of life, and not what other people want for me. Being far away from familiarity was difficult at first, but I am now prepared for the future. I was going to move home after my internship, but I have accepted a job at an all Women's gym in North Carolina. This internship has changed my life, and I feel that it completely prepared me for the future ahead. I have also met people from all over the world, and have a huge network now due to the relationships I have made with guests over the course of this summer and they have given me resources and connections through their networks to help me succeed!

Advice for others...
Travel. Pick an internship far from home. Be uncomfortable in order to really learn about yourself and what you want out of life. I could have stayed in the Midwest, but I would not be chasing my dreams. Hilton Head Health has changed my life for the better. Go into this internship with confidence! I had never taught a group fitness class in my life. The first week as an intern you take all of the different classes, then the second week you jump in and teach them. I was so nervous because I felt that I was not qualified for this internship having never taught group fitness, but I gave this experience everything that I had and it was one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. What you put into the internship, you will get back. If you show up and count down the hours until the day is over, you won't enjoy or take in all of the knowledge around you. Before coming to the Island, I did not see myself as a fitness instructor, even when I left Iowa State. After teaching classes here and experiencing so many different things, I have found my biggest passion. I am in the brainstorming process of opening my own all women's gym, and being a personal trainer/group fitness instructor. I would have never known this was what I wanted to do had I not left my comfort zone. Be uncomfortable in order to grow, and do it with confidence.

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