I can appreciate your problems - my sister-in-law is making exactly the same transition as you, and finding it something of a culture shock !
As Zingo said, you can install either of the programs he mentions to get a desktop that looks reasonably the same as XP's or win 7's but my own advice would be to get the Win 8.1 patch / update / service pack / new version - call it what you will, I have seen it called all four ! It's a free download from the Windows Apps store, which as far as I know is the only place to get it. But be warned, it is a BIG download and can take quite a while to download and install. Find something else to do while it is going on.
The advantage of 8.1 is that it gives you the ability to boot to a desktop that looks very like the ones you are used to, icons and all. You still won't have a start menu, but with correct use of icons you can get away without it. And you still have access to 'Control panel' although the method is different. Move your cursor to the top right hand corner of the screen and a column of symbols will appear, MS calls these 'Charms'. Don't ask me - I have never worked for MS ! It's either the bottom or second bottom one, looks a bit like a cogged wheel and is called 'Settings'. Click on this and you will find 'Control panel' listed.
Once you get past the shock of the changes you will find it is a pretty good OS, but the interface was designed primarily for touch screens hence the changes in the interface formerly known as 'Metro' !