Emerging adult (EA; aged 18–29) military-connected students experience major developmental changes, often coupled with the transition into the civilian sector and higher education. This conglomeration may exacerbate anxiety, stress, and negative coping mechanisms, including substance use. Substance use rates are highest among EAs, across the lifespan. To our knowledge, limited research has looked at EA military-connected students’ transition into higher education during this developmental stage. We qualitatively interviewed 16 EA military-connected students who reported high-risk substance use behaviors. To our knowledge, no student veteran research study has considered this characteristic. This is important since military members are more likely to misuse substances and encounter related consequences than their civilian counterparts, and these developmental and transitional stressors put them at higher risk for misusing substances. In 74-minute interviews, we asked participants about (1) challenges transitioning into higher education and (2) techniques helping professionals should use to support EA military-connected students. Two coders employed Thematic Analysis to identify themes using NVivo. We found challenges include: (1) starting over, (2) unable to relate to others, (3) lacking a purpose or plan, (4) support system changes, and (5) people view you as only a veteran. EA military-connected students’ suggestions for helping professionals include: (1) use straightforward communication, (2) show a genuine interest, (3) offer guidance on creating a support system, and (4) treat me as a human, not only a veteran. This study provides translational examples for helping professionals such as encouraging involvement in military and veteran community organizations to promote a sense of belonging.