Office of Advocacy & Wellbeing

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 career adviser or the AW office for more information.

I'm worried about a classmate. What should I do? 

Encourage your classmate to reach out to the AW office, physician and family support program (PFSP), or a trusted mentor. In addition, the AW office is a confidential space where you can discuss your concerns about a classmate and we can explore potential solutions to optimize support. 


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, AW office or an ancillary service, i.e. student support services through the University of Alberta, and physician and family support program (PFSP) 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 Advocacy & Wellbeing (AW) office. We are here to help you at all times.

I'm not sure that I can write my exam this week due to a personal/health crisis. 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 AW office and we can discuss your situation and provide support.