I'm sorry to hear you are feeling drained. It's absolutely 'normal' to feel that way, even in first year, in my experience - especially if you're juggling work and/or housework and school all at the same time! 😩
Regarding your question if you should do all the essential reading - it depends on the course and module you are doing.
As a rule of thumb, I can join the replies above. Also, while it is very useful to make notes for two reasons: to reinforce the information you've read and making sure you actually understand it by paraphrasing the contents into your own words, I've found it useful to not worry too much about doing notes when I don't have the time/energy for it. As long as the information or main message, even if it's a fraction of what you 'have to' go over, has gone through, I think that's already worth it. 😉
Also, I think, in my experience, you get the hold of reading big chunks of text more and more the longer you are at uni, and it becomes easier - or at least more natural. University does require you to have a deep, or at least broad understanding of many sides of a topic, but it's also okay if you don't read the reading but put it in an out-loud reader, for example. This way, you can do other things that need to be done, e.g. cleaning or cooking,or just get up from the computer, and still doing your learning that way - if this feels something that could aid you. ^.^
I know using AI might seem a 'taboo' when studying at uni, but when used well and in a balanced, conscious way, it can be a very helpful ally throughout your university studies. I've found ChatGPT useful, when I simply feel I can't possibly read the amount that's required of me, I copy in the text of a study/chapter and ask them to summarize it for me, so I can still become familiar with the content.
However, it's important to note that even then, if you can, it's still useful to just go glide over the original text; this way you make sure you get more and more comfortable with often complicated academic texts and see if the AI had made any mistakes/inconsistencies (and, if you feel like it, you can also remind them of those inconsistencies, so they can also learn from you to to avoid those mistakes in the future).
In the case of journal articles, when you don't have time and/or energy, just reading the abstract gives you a bit of an idea of what it is about.
If you're doing block learning, it means it'll be very intense and it can be difficult to keep up even with the essential reading - sometimes it's hundreds of pages for just 4 weeks - and add the extra reading you do for any assignment! (However, I can imagine that even doing multiple modules over a longer period of time is similarly exhausting.)
Lecturers, in my experience, value your devotion, depth of understanding, and your curiosity of a topic over having read everything but not having input during their sessions. I think it's always worth it to read slowly and carefully, even if it doesn't result in doing a lot during a short period of time. This way, you can keep your curiosity up and learning can stay something that's also playful and interesting rather than just becoming the hard labour it is.
I hope I managed to help, even if it was just a little bit, and please don't hesitate to ask any further questions or make any comments - I'd love to hear your feedback! 🙂
University of Suffolk
3rd year Psychology and Sociology Student