I can’t bring myself to stay focused or not fall asleep. Any tips to help me get more out of readings?
If you’re doing reading, set aside at least 45 minutes to an hour, but don’t try to push yourself to read more than 3 hours or so. Every 30 minutes or so, get up and give your mind and eyes a break. Finally, get into the habit of jotting down small notes of summaries / ideas you have while reading in the pages or in a notebook. This will definitely come in handy when studying or trying to write a final paper.
People often asked me how I managed to do my readings alongside everything else going on at uni and work. I found that instead of scheduling classes and tutorials back to back, give yourself two or three hours between each one. Perhaps it means taking a later or earlier class at uni, but ultimately you’re going to be more alive during the day when you’ve got time to do readings - because I agree reading chapters at 11 and 12 o’clock at night is not the dream.
My days at uni would sometimes be an 8-9am tutorial, 1-3pm lecture and 5-6pm tutorial. So there’s a 4 hour block and a 2 hour block, and I might do a reading (with summary notes, so handy always!!!) for an hour, then work on an assignment for a couple, then take a walk for lunch. Then, off to class. After class, another reading and notes refresher for the tutorial. It’s like being in school - no one could sit in class and learn physics for 6 hours straight, but your brain can handle and absorb small amounts of physics, maths, geography, art, and classics in a day and not feel too fatigued.
I did this to myself because I used to load myself up back to back, and be so tired when I got home I’d usually take a nap, and then feel so lethargic for the rest of the day that I’d never have the energy and brain power to focus on readings. So I found I never got much done!!
I didn’t have a huge workload (probably 15 hours of contact time a week), so I understand it’s harder for students who take courses with labs. My university also allowed me to select my tutorial times which some unis don’t - but you can always ask your faculty for a swap if this is the case.