The University of Redlands is filled with opportunities. One of the biggest reasons I picked this university as an international student was because I knew that the type of programs and education offered here was not something I could find anywhere else in the country or in the world. One of many programs that the university has is called the Johnston Center for Integrative Studies.
The Johnston Center lets you create your own major. This means that there is no end or limitation to what you can study here. A lot of people don’t have a traditional major that they want to study; they are interested in exploring something more specific or something more broad, and Johnston lets you do that. Essentially, Johnston lets you pick classes in any department every semester that you want to take. In addition to that, you are allowed to contract classes and edit the syllabus to tailor the course closer to what you want to make of it.
I am studying Digital Transformation and Business Strategy. To create this, I take a lot of classes in the business department and the media & visual culture studies department. I want to go into marketing, and that is not a major or specification that is offered at the university. I am able to create that by taking classes that align with digital media, entertainment, business, and brand management. There are a few international students in the program as well who are doing wonderful work with it and loving the education that they are receiving from it.
At Johnston, you do not receive a letter grade or GPA. You are given a narrative evaluation from your professor about your performance in class, your strengths, weaknesses, what you did well and what you could improve on. This is one of the biggest reasons why people appreciate Johnston the most. You are not just a “B” at Johnston, you are so much more. It really helps you if you have a great relationship with your professor and they are able to see your dedication far beyond what goes on the paper.
Johnston is also a living and learning community. There are two residence halls on campus that are specifically for Johnston students or Johnston community members. We are a family and everything that happens on the Johnston complex is decided and agreed upon by the students. Not only are we in charge of our education, we are also in charge of the rules and policies we set in the place that we live. The amount of creative freedom that you have here is more than anything you could you imagine. Even if you don’t want to get a Johnston education, you can still be a part of the Johnston community and live on complex. There are international students that have found their community here and made best friends. The community welcomes everyone.
Komal Muthyalu is an Indian student from Dubai studying Digital Transformation and Business Strategy at University of Redlands.