Did you know that the word "mathematics" in Greek means knowledge? In fact, the Greeks believed mathematics to be the highest type of knowledge and thought it could be used to understand how the universe works.
Many times, we will say, "I'll never use this math concept in real life." Truth be told, math is more prevalent than we’d think. We use math in almost every aspect of our daily lives, from saving and managing our everyday spending to deciding if you can afford a car or not. Our understanding of complex math has led us to develop computer networks, highways, cars, and smartphones which have completely transformed the way we live and communicate. Math is everywhere, and it is easy for us to overlook just how often we use it and its importance.
In recognition of Mathematics Awareness Month, we asked CCD Professor Rachel Sefton’s Pre-Calculus class the following question: What is one thing in everyday life that people wouldn’t automatically think, “This is a complicated math equation?”
“Sometimes I think about how basic math knowledge can really help people save money in everyday life. Yesterday, my friend and I went to Panera Bread and my friend wanted a sandwich, salad, and a drink. She got three small items, which totaled to $20. I stopped her before she got the chance to pay, and suggested she pick the two entree deals for $14, which came with everything she wanted plus an extra side. She took my advice and saved $6.”
-Kesiena Sebeni. Biology, 2023
“Traffic calculations lead to estimated cars on the road at a given time, average opening times for business and school cause an influx, cities must account for all those when expanding roads and so forth. The management of traffic itself involves speed, load capacity and a mass load of other things that most people would never consider.”
-E. Ashton Lane. Biology, 2024
“Math is commonly used in finding interests, student loans, mortgages, etc.
Conversions (Celsius to Fahrenheit) also use somewhat complex math.”
-Ian Alicia Perry. Biology/Philosophy, 2025
“A couple of things in everyday life that use complicated math are tipping and buying groceries. Math is needed to calculate a tip and math is needed to compare grocery prices.”
-Julianne Verde. Civil Engineering, 2026
“One thing in everyday life people wouldn’t automatically think ‘math is an easy subject’, because depending on the level, subject, unit, or formula of the math problem, it can be a long process of trying to get a correct answer and making sure you didn’t miss a step. Depending on the level or formula of the math, your answer might be completely off track or have an answer of a larger or smaller number. “
-Aminata Cisse. Computer Science, 2026
“One thing people wouldn’t expect to have an equation associated with is driving “
-Alejandro Escobar. Computer Science, Fall 2023
“This is my sophomore year, and before college, I took a gap year to work a full-time job so I can save up some money for my bills and college. I thought nothing of tax returns until the following year when I received my tax return in the mail. This was the part that I was stuck on, as it feels like to me a bunch of weird math problems that I cannot mess up on since it was the difference between getting a higher or a lower tax return. To me, as well as many young adults, we tend to not think of tax returns until the moment they are sent to the mail.”
-Cailyn Vang. Biology, 2025