Michael Smith has a hard time introducing himself.
“It seems like every time I tell somebody my name, they think I’m lying,” he said.
Smith, whose middle name is Randall, is one of the 10 Michael Smiths at UF, according to the student directory. Michael is the fourth most common first name in the U.S., and Smith is the most common surname, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
But the Michael Smiths of UF, with their various backgrounds and goals, are more than just a common name.
Michael Randall Smith, a UF business administration junior, was raised as a Gator. His father attended UF for dental school, and Randall Smith inherited his Gator pride.
“I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I knew I wanted to do it here,” he said.
At first, Randall Smith majored in finance but didn’t enjoy it. He was interested in dentistry, like his father, but was afraid he’d end up in his father’s shadow if he followed in his footsteps.
But by Spring 2017, Randall Smith had switched to business administration and took a specialization in pre-health.
On Sept. 26, he started his first day as a volunteer at the UF Health Shands Hospital Dental Clinic.
“I was smiling the whole time,” he said. It was fitting for a dentist.
Michael Joseph Smith has always had an active mind.
At UF, the 20-year-old computer science junior balances schoolwork with Chi Phi Fraternity, being a Dance Marathon captain and mentoring computer science engineering students for First Time Programmers.
Joseph Smith is anticipating his next challenge: object-oriented programming with professor Dave Small, who’s notorious for being a difficult, but brilliant teacher, he said.
“I recognize when an opportunity can allow me to grow as a person and within my field of computer science,” he said.
Michael McVey Smith is looking toward the future.
Raised by Gator parents, it wasn’t difficult for McVey Smith to decide to attend UF in 2014. When Florida State University offered him a scholarship, he refused to relinquish his spot in The Gator Nation.
The 22-year-old UF sport management senior and member of the Pi Lambda Phi Fraternity aspires to use his degree to help kids. McVey Smith plans to organize local sports events for children with disabilities.
“I want to help people with whatever I do,” he said. “I’m still trying to figure things out, honestly. I think all of us are.”
With the rest of senior year ahead, McVey Smith is making the moments last.
“After I graduate, it won’t be the same,” he said.
That includes continuing his streak of attending every Gators home football game since his freshman year.
Michael Patrick Smith was quick to embrace UF.
Patrick Smith made a point to introduce himself to others often. He sat with strangers in dining halls, played intramural sports and joined the University Economics Society.
He said students’ pride makes him comfortable at UF.
“The amount of pride that people have being a Gator is one of the coolest things I’ve noticed,” he said.
None of the four Michael Smiths know each other, but they all share Gator pride every football game.
McVey Smith said his favorite game was Sept. 27, 2015 against the University of Tennessee.
“It’s an experience I’ll never forget,” he said.
Joseph Smith remembers UF’s victory against the University of Mississippi on Oct. 4, 2015.
“I remember going through the tunnel of Ben Hill Griffin (Stadium) saying — everyone shouting — ‘It’s great to be a Florida Gator.’”
Randall Smith said Gator games epitomize UF’s spirit.
“The entire stadium loses their mind. And then suddenly, you’re hugging somebody who was sitting five rows over,” he said. “That’s what it means to be a Gator.”
Patrick Smith will carry his pride in UF long after graduation.
“Once you’re a Gator, you’re always a Gator, and that never really ends,” he said.