Learner Advocacy & Wellness

Frequent Asked Questions

What electives should I take?

Electives in the first year (12-hour elective) should be purely for fun and something that you are interested in, regardless whether you are interested in that career path.

Electives at any other time will depend on the career choice of the student and whether the student has decided on a career path. In general, if you are still undecided about your residency of choice by the end of second year, then you should do some shadowing electives in the summer of the second year to help point you in a more specific direction (or directions).

For the very competitive specialties ie. dermatology, ophthalmology​, surgical subspecialties, you should gear your electives in those areas. For the more general specialties ie. family medicine, IM, pediatrics, you should do some broad-range electives that will help you in those areas.

In addition, take advantage of the AAMC Careers in Medicine website and go over some of the processes that might help you decide on career options. And finally, if you are still confused about the options for you, go to your student adviser or the LAW office for more information.


I'm feeling drained, tired and not myself. What should I do?

About 25 per cent of students will at some point have problems with mental health, ranging anywhere from burnout to severe depression. Remember that you have a support system around you where you can go for help.

These include your friends, colleagues, student adviser, LAW office or an ancillary service, i.e. student support services through the University of Alberta, and physician and family support services through the Alberta Medical Association. If you need help as to which direction you should go, always feel free to seek the advice of your student adviser or ask the LAW office. We are here to help you at all times.


I just broke up with my significant other and am falling behind in my studying. I'm not sure that I can write my exam this week. What should I do?

If you are either behind in your studying for personal or health reasons and don't feel up to writing an exam, it is better for you to defer an exam than to attempt to write it and fail. Please come to the LAW office and we can help with your request.

The same goes for deferrals for other reasons, i.e. varsity sports. However, requests for deferral for other reasons ( family functions, reunions, trips or vacations, etc.) will not be taken into consideration. You need to make sure that your school schedule takes precedence over any extraneous activities that are under your control.