Paperwork is meaningless?

My current job is just fine. Getting up in the morning and going to work doesn’t bring me dread. However, it doesn’t bring me joy or inspire me.
I help administer a summer internship program, and we had a meeting (we is the Program Director and Associate Dean) for all the students that we’ve accepted into the program so far. The PD and I had explained the paperwork that the students need to fill out if they are going to complete the program, and then it was time for the AD to talk. He starts out by talking about the different between “book knowledge” and “mother wit.” It is “mother wit” that the students learn and learn to understand in our program, because they are working in the community, interacting with students in different disciplines and having a “real world” experience. But he proceeds to say that the paperwork part of the program is meaningless.
The part of this program that I’m responsible for? Paperwork.
Now I do know that he did not say this to diminish me. What he meant was that the thrust of this program is the experiences and interactions that the students will have with the people they’ll meet over the course of the summer. But it still stung because I’m struggling with my work and my purpose right now, every day, and many times I already feel meaningless for the 40 hours a week I sit in my basement office.
What makes it doubly difficult is that I am graduate student age, working with graduate students, but I’m not a student in this world of students. I always excelled at school. I was a good student, I was skilled at managing the demands that being a student puts on you and I was always smart, outspoken and appealing to teachers and professors. But my boss, who is a professor, doesn’t see me as a student. He sees me as one of the many “girls” who have worked and will work for him. I can type, fax, xerox, reserve rooms, obtain phone numbers and get things done. But my identity chafes at being lumped into that group of women who have worked assisting others. Part of it is elitest and snobby, I know that and work on diminishing it. But part is that I have so much to contribute and I’m given so little opportunity to do so.
People keep telling me that I should take this as a sign to go back to school. The problem I have with that is that I am marginally talented a whole number of things, so much so that nothing jumps out as the obvious right thing to do.
I talked to my mom while I walked down 15th Street today, with tears streaming down my face. She reminded me that really the most important thing, above all others is how you treat people. And that will just have to be enough for the time being.

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