I'm in the second year of an International Affairs undergraduate program. When classes first began last year, I - like most of my peers - felt overwhelmed by the amount of text assigned for reading, which I averaged as 400 pages per week, the whole year. I initially managed it by reading the texts faster than I should (thus not properly apprehending the text) and prioritising the ones with an obvious precedence and skipping others right away.
If that wasn't improper enough and made me feel lacking, we were briefed on how to do scientific reading in two of our disciplines. Basically we were 'taught' how to do a 'micro-research' on every text assigned to us, by first reading the text superficially, taking notes of everything unknown to us (authors, dates, events, places, concepts, word definitions) and then getting to know each of those, to just then go back to the text with the goal of apprehending and taking notes of the logical structure of the text, identifying its main theses and how arguments are presented, in order to be able to reconstruct the presentation the author gave accurately, either mentally, or when giving a speech or writing.
In theory, we should be doing that to every text. In practice, I felt like I barely had time to read the texts once and then I would go to the next. By the end of last year I assessed I had to at least double my reading skills to handle that amount of text. I maybe improved 20%, tops.
Now we began having online classes because of the pandemics. There was a lot of opposition from professors and students, but as a state university, costs were still running and there was a lot of pressure coming from the upper realms, thus, online classes began. Now, we're being given harder texts. I just finished watching a Political Theory class. I literally didn't understand any of the texts, neither the class itself made sense and my professor kept asking questions to me, it was frustrating.
It makes me feel somehow depressed and it makes it even worse when I see there are a few students who not only seem able to handle it, but are doing research and a lot of other stuff, I can't even imagine how they do it.
Edit: One thing that gets me beaten and very sick sometimes is how relatively unimportant authors that talk about the simplest concepts are the ones writing texts that almost demands me to become cryptologist. On the other hand, some of the authors presenting the most complex topics, e.g, Kant and Weber [especially Kant], despite being very demanding, seemed to be quite clear and straightforward in their argumentation. The problem here, again, was time. When reading Kant I had to skip almost all the other texts in other to complete it with a satisfiable understanding of the text. I got the 2nd best grade of the class in that discipline.
Edit 2: I also find it interesting, for lack of a better word, how some professors throw you in the lion's pit. For today's class we read a text by Italian Norberto Bobbio which is an answer to a critic of an earlier text. I felt totally out of context, as we didn't read the first text nor the critics, I was simply unable to understand half the text, as it was constantly referencing stuff we didn't read and would never be able to do it in time.