When Mitloehner was about 20-years-old, he wanted to be a psychiatrist. He worked as an orderly for two years with geriatrics, criminally insane and drug addicts. He applied to medical school with his then girlfriend. She received an acceptance letter, he did not. It was his older brother that helped him get his mind off of being rejected. At the time, his brother was doing an internship in tropical forestry and invited him and his girlfriend to spend three months in South Africa. He had no prior experience in agriculture at the time. It was a total culture shock for him, but loved it.
He went back to Germany and helped his girlfriend settle into medical school at University of Leipzig. He applied for other programs at the University of Leipzig. After helping her settle in, he found out that admissions had made a mistake. He was, in fact, accepted to the medical school. He immediately tore up the acceptance letter.
"That was the single best action of my life," he said "Without knowing it, I engaged in something that I had real passion for. It [had] an impact in my life. If I were to become a psychiatrist, I would have been miserable because the majority of activity is to sedate them in order to get them out of their depression."
He was accepted into Agricultural Engineering and Animal Science at the University of Leipzig, becoming one of the first West Germans to study in East Germany after the wall came down. Participation in practical trainings were part of the 5-year curriculum. The first year he spent time in Austria on an ostrich farm. The second? In Paraguay on cattle ranches studying heat stress. His third year, he travelled to Australia where he was helping on massive 400,000 acre cattle ranches. He said they had to do cattle drives via helicopter or two days via horseback. His last year he spent time in Indonesia and China on buffalo ranches. He accomplished all of this by his mid-twenties. His experiences made him who he is today.
He also spoke of one of his professors, that encouraged him to explore the world.
"Frank, you live in this room," he recalled. "This room is your world. You know every corner of this room. My job is to take a sledgehammer and poke a huge hole in the wall. For the first time, you will see the rest of the world. It will be scary, but you will like it."
Mitloehner wanted to share his experience that if you perhaps don't get in to your dream graduate school (medicine, veterinary, etc), don't worry; it's not the end of the world. Your expertise and talents might just be needed elsewhere.
Other Options After Graduation
• Apply for PhD or Masters programs. Most graduate programs require a minimum GPA of 3.0. As long as you find someone to take you into their lab, it's almost guaranteed that you will get in. Plus, it looks really good if you apply to vet school afterwards. Masters programs are generally 2 years long, while PhD programs are around 4-7 years long. Explore Davis' graduate programs.
• Apply to Cal Poly's Master of Professional Studies in Dairy Products Technology (1 year program). Check out more information here.
• Become a vet tech, especially if your heart is still in veterinary medicine. Here's a helpful guide.
• Look into nursing schools, especially for those who love to help people. Veterinarian medicine allows you to help people through their animals, but nursing allows you to help people directly. It's always an option, but you might have to take a few extra courses.
• Most of all, don't give up. Re-apply once more. There were 11 people admitted to UCD School of Veterinary Medicine for the Class of 2019 that applied twice. The year before? 15 people. Never give up hope!