People should have a general understanding of every subject, even if it’s not what they plan on pursuing as a career.

Some students think as they sign up for their general education courses. Why take this math course anyway?

Math is used in everyday life situations: from the angle you need to turn your car when you pull into a parking space, to the tax that is charged on the breakfast burrito you purchased from the cafeteria. Math is an essential part of the learning process.

But how can you get around taking a math course? There is a competency requirement that may be met by completing one of the following: Math 125, or any higher-level math course with Math 125 as the prerequisite, getting a passing score on the Mathematics Competency Examination or scoring a three or higher on one of the following AP exams: Calculus AB, Calculus BC or statistics.

These can get you out of having to take the required math course, but there are benefits to sitting in a class and physically learning and understanding algebra, geometry and/or statistics.

Think about the last time the paycheck that was brought home didn’t stretch as far as you first thought. Had an algebra class been taken, a better understanding of unknown variables and how to factor x and y would have come in handy.

That extra two rounds at the bar with friends is an example of an unknown variable. More so, it leads into statistics. How much money is spent on drinks per week, month or year? How much did you spend on tattoos, motorcycle upkeep or going out to the movies?

Math plays a role in our everyday lives whether we realize it or not. There is a need to take these courses to gather necessary comprehension of everyday math situations, and it should be required for that purpose, more so than any other.

Sitting in that math class at 8 a.m. or 7 p.m. may seem not worth it, but in the end, you gathered proficiency that others neglected to obtain. Don’t short change yourself because you don’t think your career requires math or you don’t think you will ever use what you learned. Expertise in any subject is quite often an unconscious effort of the brain; use yours.