For many, college is a time of great change and self-discovery. As you venture into adulthood, you start to meet new people, learn new things, and are introduced to new experiences; not all of which are exactly good for you. If you’re planning on heading to college this fall for the first time or returning for your studies, there are some things you’ll want to avoid for your own good.

These four things will either get you addicted to a harmful substance or get you in a lot of trouble. This trouble could potentially leave a black mark on the rest of your life, or even compromise your education and future career. Here are four things to skip experimenting with in college.

1. Cigarettes

Cigarettes aren’t that bad, right? Or, at least, that seems to be the general attitude surrounding one of the worst habits you can adopt as a teen or college student. Plenty of smokers start at an early age, and the habit haunts them throughout life. Did you know that almost all smokers have tried to quit at one point or another? And yet, for so much effort, less than 10% of smokers actually ditch the habit completely.

There’s a good chance you’ll get offered a cigarette in college if you haven’t already. Even with smoking on a worldwide decline, nearly 14% of US adults still smoke. We all know that smoking is deadly. It causes lung disease, cancer, heart problems, and all manner of health complications, but it’s also expensive, can alienate you from other people, and is one of the hardest habits to quit.

The best thing to do is to avoid cigarettes and tobacco products entirely. In today’s market, there are plenty of alternatives to cigarettes. Things like tobaccoless chew from, vape pens, CBD gummies, and gum can help current smokers quit and help prevent non-smokers from ever taking up the habit.

2. Alcohol

By the time you reach college, you’ve likely had your first drink already. By age 18, about 58 percent of teens have already had their first drink. While drinking casually during your adult years isn’t too destructive, alcohol use is still something you’ll probably want to avoid for the most part in college. Why? Because alcohol is addictive—a fact which many forget.

The problem with alcohol is that it’s not only socially acceptable and encouraged, but it’s also cheap and readily available. Everywhere you’ll see ads for good liquor, billboards with beer and spirits, and people all around you will be drinking up. Alcohol abuse is disturbingly prevalent in the US, and it’s easy to see why. Alcohol is tempting. It helps numb the pain and anxiety of everyday life and it’s not difficult to lose track of how much you’ve been drinking.

3. Hard Drugs

Drugs like cocaine, heroin, molly, and others will likely find their way into your life during your college years. Opioids especially are a problem in the United States, which suffers from a silent but deadly opioid epidemic. Each year, thousands of people become addicted to and eventually die from opioid use. Opioids are incredibly addictive, and many users actually start with prescription painkillers.

Hard drugs can do more than just get you addicted. If you become dependent on something like heroin, you could be putting your career, your schooling, and your freedom at risk. Drugs like heroin and cocaine are highly illegal and possession can carry a hefty prison sentence and leave a black mark on your record.

The best thing to do about hard drugs? Just say no. It’s tempting. Your friends might even try to pressure you into it. But ask yourself something; if those are truly your friends, would they be pressuring you into something dangerous and addictive?

4. Adderall/ADD/ADHD Drugs

Prescription drug abuse is, unfortunately, and epidemic in America’s colleges, with a large percentage of students abusing drugs like Adderall, Ritalin, and Vyvanse. These drugs are usually prescribed to people with conditions like ADD (attention deficit disorder) or ADHD (attention deficit hyperactive disorder) in order to help them focus and be productive. College students abuse the drugs to get more coursework done, remember important dates, and more, but the cost can be more than you bargain for.

These kinds of drugs require a prescription for a reason. They’re dangerous if you don’t actually need them, and can cause their share of health problems. Not to mention, they aren’t cheap, and you could wind up in hot water with the school administration if you’re caught distributing them.

The Bottom Line

College should be a time of learning and growth. While it’s certainly part of the experience to hang out with friends and have a good time, you don’t want to do anything that will jeopardise the thousands of dollars you’re spending on your education, or the eventual career you hope to obtain.