Unable to keep up with course reading

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glazeddonut
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I'm a 2nd year student doing Ancient History and Archaeology and I feel like I've made a mess of things and not made the most out of uni.

I've taken careful notes of all year 1 and year 2 lectures and perform decently on assignments (I know my strengths and weaknesses now so that's helpful).

However, I feel as if I learn nothing in seminars- the discussions are pretty recycled and often go of-topic, so I don't have any notes from them apart from for 1 modules where the seminars have been intellectually stimulating and I've really enjoyed them.

However, one thing I'm worried about is that I've barely touched reading lists and kept up with context readings that my professors provide alongside the lectures because there just isn't enough time! I only read extensively for essays obviously in order to score a 2:1 or a first.

Yet, I'm worried once 3rd year finishes and I'll lose access to the university library and Blackboard, it will seem as if I didn't make the most of my degree? I understand what's been taught in lectures but at the same time there's just too much background and context reading to 'master' a particular topic which is what is stressing me out. I want to be able to do other things too, as opposed to just read, read and read.

Do any History/ Ancient History/ Politics/ Sociology/ Humanities students at university feel the same way? Do you all selectively read? How do I stop myself from feeling guilty about 'not making the most of my degree,' even though so far I have understood everything that has been taught in lectures and done quite well in assessments?
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glazeddonut
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MatthewAteYou
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I'm about to graduate studying politics, philosophy, & economics.

I was thinking about this earlier... what have I actually learnt? Do I know all about philosophy? No. But that's not the expectations. Even lecturers, academics focus on one area for a reason. Do you they have a good 'all round knowledge'? Maybe. But they've been teaching, learning for many many many more years compared to ourselves. This is somewhat of the Dunning-Kruger effect. The more you know, the more you realise you don't know.

It sometimes gets me down a little, but at the same time is motivation to not stop reading even after I graduate.

On your second (or really, first) point. This year especially I've struggled with my reading. I think I was slightly foolish to think I'd read everything. Others can achieve that but me personally? Not really. I made sure that I'd do at least one core reading for each module, but the way my modules 'worked' theoretically for exams/essays I only needed to know about one or two topics so could focus on those weeks. Obviously, the more you do the greater of a holistic image you have. Even with this in mind I often did as much as I could for modules, to then focus my time on specific lectures or essay topics to ensure a good breadth.
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glazeddonut
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(Original post by MatthewAteYou)
I'm about to graduate studying politics, philosophy, & economics.

I was thinking about this earlier... what have I actually learnt? Do I know all about philosophy? No. But that's not the expectations. Even lecturers, academics focus on one area for a reason. Do you they have a good 'all round knowledge'? Maybe. But they've been teaching, learning for many many many more years compared to ourselves. This is somewhat of the Dunning-Kruger effect. The more you know, the more you realise you don't know.

It sometimes gets me down a little, but at the same time is motivation to not stop reading even after I graduate.

On your second (or really, first) point. This year especially I've struggled with my reading. I think I was slightly foolish to think I'd read everything. Others can achieve that but me personally? Not really. I made sure that I'd do at least one core reading for each module, but the way my modules 'worked' theoretically for exams/essays I only needed to know about one or two topics so could focus on those weeks. Obviously, the more you do the greater of a holistic image you have. Even with this in mind I often did as much as I could for modules, to then focus my time on specific lectures or essay topics to ensure a good breadth.
Hi! Thank you for your reply, it has reassured me so much actually!! You are so right, because now that you mention it, lots of my lecturers have extremely niche areas of focus. One for instance focuses solely on Roman history but only the history of Roman religion. The Dunning- Kruger effect sounds interesting and is so spot on about my feelings really! That was a clever example!

Final year in the midst of a pandemic sounds so taxing, especially with disseration work It is a good thing that you focus on maintaining a good breath at least! I was watching a lecture earlier today and my lecturer mentioned that it is best to just look through reading lists and only carry forward with reading topics that we're particularly interested in/ need more clarification in as otherwise it would be physically impossible to live a life outside of academia, which is so true and was reassuring too, as was your reply now.

Good luck with the rest of your final year!
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