I am a 1st year physical chemistry graduate student in an American University. I was admitted in September 2020, but I actually started the program in April 2021 due to the visa and pandemic issues. For this reason, I started my lab rotations in April and I found that a lot of groups which I am interested to join can no longer take new students before the start of the new academic year (Fall 2021). However, the department office wants me to join a group before that, so that I can be separated from the incoming 1st year students in fall 2021. I feel quite stressful and anxious, because I am reaching out different faculty members in the department, but I still cannot find a group that can take a new student before fall. I even tried to reach out groups which were my 4th or 5th choices, some of them still did not reply or they cannot take me.
I started to lose my passion. I can see I may end up joining a group which does not work in physical chemistry, if I persist to fulfil the requirement from the department. I am not rejecting other fields in chemistry, but the scenario is just totally not what I expected, and I have not even started to work on my own research project yet! I am feeling myself being unproductive, and a bit worthless due to this.
Should I continue to explore the department? Or just wait until fall to see if I can start over again? I would be grateful to hear any kinds of advice.