Four years can really fly by. Whether you had the time of your life in high school, or you were counting the days to graduation, when you look back to your freshman year, I bet it went by in the blink of an eye.

Stop and think about the kid you were when you first set foot into Staples High School or one of the area private schools. Maybe you were nervous; or excited; or absolutely terrified. The juniors and seniors (especially the seniors) were so much bigger than you; they drove, they had jobs. Maybe you felt intimidated.

Then there were the all of the extracurricular activities that allowed you to explore different subject matter and learn more about yourself in the process. It may have been a bit overwhelming, but clubs and sports taught you how to multi-task and manage your time -- key components of college and workplace success.

Now take a minute and look at the person you've become. You're not the same 14-year-old -- you've grown; welcomed new experiences; passed your driver's test; and survived your first high school party. You've stuck by your childhood friends and you made new ones -- hopefully lifelong friends who will be there for life's milestones.

But in a few short months, you'll embark on your own adventure -- your own path -- without your friends standing by your side.

Whether it's college, a gap year, a job or something else -- it's yours. Your chance to take what you've learned and the confidence you've gained and start working toward your goals and dreams.

My advice to you is to hold onto every second. When you think about how fast high school went by, double it, or even triple it, for post-high school life. From here on out, life's going to come at you pretty quickly.

For those headed to college, there will be an adjustment period. Maybe you'll question whether you made the right decision, or if the school you chose really was the right fit for you. Or maybe you'll just jump in head first, get involved in a ton of activities and feel like you belong right from the start.

College is all about balance. Yes, you're there to learn, but not all of your lessons will come from books and lecture halls. You'll learn about yourself through your experiences outside of the classroom. And you'll have some of the best times of your life.

For all this year's graduates, remember to take stock every so often. Don't let the days pass you by as you spend every second in the library. It won't be long before the real world is knocking, and 3 a.m. diner runs are no longer an option. Enjoy it while you can, because as you discovered, four years can really fly by.