Azadeh Afshari, of Morgantown, and her mom, Shahla, are the best of friends. So whenAzwanted to go to dental school, Shahla beamed with pride.

Little did they know at the time that one of Azclassmates would turn out to be none other than her own mom. In fact, they are the first known mother-daughter duo ever accepted into the program.

This fall, Az and Shahla, both West Virginia University graduates, began their full-time studies at WVU s School of Dentistry.

For the elder and younger Afshari, its been a lifelong dream. Shahla, who has degrees from WVU in medical technology and occupational safety and health, always wanted to go to dental school, but it wasnt much of an option after she graduated.

I wanted to go to dental school, but being an international student, the tuition was out-of-state,she explained.In terms of a financial situation, it was kind of hard.

So instead of continuing her college education, she began working while she raised her three children. Az, who just graduated from WVU with a bachelor of science degree in exercise physiology, is the oldest and was the first of the pair to apply to the program.

Seeing her go through the DAC and get ready for dental school made me realize that I still wanted to do that, and financially, Im able to do it,Shahla said.So I said, �€~okay, let me try,and I got in.

With the semester under way, both are confident they can rise to the challenge, and they are excited about helping others look and feel their best.

To help somebody have a better smile, a better look, thats very satisfying,Shahla said.

Az also admitted she is looking forward to a little friendly competition to see which Afshari will outdo the other in school.

Shes like, �€~Im a nerd. Im going to be sitting in the front of the classroom,and Im like, �€~Mom, thats where I sit,she said.

As for study habits, Az joked her mother could learn a thing or two.

I can go five or six hours straight,she bragged.

It doesnt matter how tired I am,Shahla said.I go home, change into something comfortable and Im totally refreshed. I study for half an hour, then go get something to drink, talk to someone or watch TV for 15 minutes.

Asked what would happen if Mom received a better grade, Az replied:Its not going to happen.

When I finished med technology, I was the only one in my class out of 27 who graduated summa cum laude,Shahla pointed out,and I was the only one who had family and children.

Im not going to take notes,Az quipped, looking over at her mother, who rolled her eyes.Mom, lets go to the Xerox machine!

Seriously, though, I know everything will work out,she continued.Im not afraid at all about being classmates. I think if anything, well be able to compliment each other and be able to work together in more of a stronger team.

I think well get even closer than what we are,Shahla said, adding that she is very proud of her daughters accomplishments.Im sure she will make a very good dentist. I can trust her to fix my teeth. I just told her to be careful. Whenever you have someone with their mouth open, dont keep talking to them because they want to get out of there.

Its going to be four long years,Az conceded,but I think its going to be better that shes there. Shes not only my mom; shes my friend.