I study philosophy at university, a subject that covers a lot of ground. My problem is that I often feel overwhelmed by what's been done in the past 2,500 years in so many different fields. There is so much to learn. When I start reading a text, I encounter some philosopher that I didn't know about yet, so I look up his name. Then there's a term I didn't know about, so I have to look that up. Then there's a reference to some historical event I didn't know about. And the list goes on. What I end up doing is reading very superficially about many different subjects rather than reading or studying one text or subject thoroughly. This hasn't really caused trouble, my marks are fine, but I feel that my knowledge is broad but superficial rather than deep. Especially since I'm about to get into graduate courses, this learning attitude may cause trouble.
Part of this has to do with my very strong desire to learn about just about anything. On the one hand, it is obviously a good thing to keep me motivated. On the other hand, it's hard to focus on one subject, because there are all kinds of interesting things to learn about lurking in just about every sentence of the text you actually want to or need to read. The material that's part of the curriculum is not overwhelming at all; it's the references to other material "hidden" (and references in those texts, and so on) that are often overwhelming. A typical day of study begins with one particular text or concept and ends with a huge pile of books on my desk, a couple of youtube videos on the concept and encyclopedia articles in my browser and a ton of notes. I really cannot choose between different subjects/topics/concepts/authors, so I attempt to learn them all, which usually results in learning very little. Some say that "to choose is to lose something, but to refuse to choose is to lose everything" and this seems to apply perfectly to my situation.
So my question is: how do I turn my strong desire to learn about just about anything, which I consider to be a good trait, into a way to learn well about one subject/concept/author/... at a time. While I think I have identified the problem fairly accurately, I find it hard to come up with good and practical solutions to resolve it.