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Rotating in a lab and want to join

Tall Chai Latte

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Hello gradcafe community, it's Tall Chai here. I'm approaching the end of my second rotation, and I really would like to join this lab I'm in. People here are professional, thoughtful (in a professional sense), and highly technically able in terms of research. This is a place I want to be!

But how do I approach this topic? Besides me, there are two other rotation students, whose intentions I have no clue of, nor I have any idea on how far they progress with their research. I am afraid to talk to any of them about this since I might come off as being too competitive or something. Last week, when I went and discuss my progress with the boss man, I brought up that I am considering staying in his lab. He said it's a good thing that I am happy with the lab, and also that I am making good progress, but he'd like to see my end of the semester presentation (where he wants me to make a case saying "look, I'm awesome"). He also wants me to be aggressive and complete the project. I have no idea what this mean, it's not entirely clear and straightforward. The reason why I decided to rotate here (other than the usual funding and reputation considerations) was because he said on the phone, that he would take all of us if we are all happy staying.

I have to get this out of my chest, because this year has been very rough. I went from one micromanaging PI to a totally hands-off PI (who's rarely around!), now I'm totally worn out by this whole grad school thing.. It's so tempting to just pack up and go home. Any advice in how to approach this lab topic? Do I just sit the boss man down and ask him what his intentions are, so I can be prepared?

Thanks gradcafe, you guys are awesome.

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Last week, when I went and discuss my progress with the boss man, I brought up that I am considering staying in his lab.

Sounds like all you have to do is go have another discussion and change "am considering staying" to "absolutely want to stay." There's no need to beat around the bush; the whole point of a rotation is that there was initially a chance of you deciding later on to join the lab, so just come out and tell the PI that you've decided his lab is the one for you.

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