Column Description: Come follow me on my journey as a new academic librarian, yet a "seasoned professional" as I learn to integrate my old skills in new and innovative ways. While most middle-aged people are mid-career I am just beginning, let's see what stumbling blocks I might face and what hurdles I might overcome!

We have all heard of Imposter Syndrome, and maybe some of us have experienced it. According to Merriam-Webster, “Impostor syndrome is commonly understood as a false and sometimes crippling belief that one's successes are the product of luck or fraud rather than skill.”

While I was building my career in higher education, as the years went on, I felt less like a “fraud” and more like a seasoned professional. I knew my job inside and out. Colleagues, students, and faculty frequently came to me looking for advice, guidance, and insight. As I transitioned careers and moved into Librarianship suddenly, I felt like a fish out of water, and yes, a fraud! 

If you are feeling this way, whether you are new to the profession or maybe have taken on new responsibilities, some things that have helped me become more confident in my role are: 

  • Other people see your worth. Remembering that I was hired out of a qualified candidate pool. My supervisor and colleagues saw something in me that gave them the confidence to say, “Yup, we want her on our team!”
  • Finding a mentor. I have 2 mentors, one in my workplace and a former supervisor that keep me both grounded, but also push me to be the best version of myself. They gently remind me that I am indeed more than capable! 
  • Ask for help. Some people with impostor syndrome have a hard time accepting help from other people, I know I often do, I still fight the false belief that I should be completely self-reliant. But this isn't the case. Successful people welcome collaboration! Asking for help should be seen as an integral part of any successful voyage. 
  • Lifelong Learning. One of the most important things I have learned in my quest to beat imposter syndrome is that everyone has their own unique skill set, and everyone is an expert in something, and you can’t know it all. But, if there is something I feel like I am lacking, I take the time to learn. I have done things from taking a short course at Library Juice Academy or LinkedIn Learning to taking courses towards a CAS. 

While I still struggle with Imposter Syndrome from time to time, I find it helpful to reframe my experiences and thoughts and realize that I am an asset to my team and my profession, and I hope if you are struggling with it as well you can employ some of the ways I try to keep myself from feeling like an imposter! 

Giovanna Colosi of Cicero, NY is currently working at Syracuse University as The Librarian for the School of Education and Subject Instruction Lead in the Department of Research and Scholarship. Her specialty areas include Teaching and Leadership, Disability Studies, and Higher Education. Prior to her move over to Librarianship, she worked as an academic counselor/instructor in The College of Engineering and Computer Science at Syracuse University for almost 9 years and in several different roles in higher education since 1997.

Giovanna also sits on the Board of Trustees on the Northern Onondaga Public Library and holds the role of Executive Secretary. Giovanna is active in many regional and national library organizations and is currently co-chair of the ALA New Member Roundtable Membership Promotion, Diversity, & Recruitment Committee. Giovanna holds a master’s degree in counseling and human services and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from The State University of New York at Oswego. She also obtained her MLIS degree from the I-School at Syracuse University in 2016.

In her very limited free time, Giovanna spends it with her two children, Sofia and Jack, playing with her Labrador Sloan, attending her favorite Bootcamp classes and watching various baking shows, (even though she does not bake!)