As a student, I get Microsoft Office 2010 for free from my university's website. I know there are programs that let you run things like that in Linux, but I've never used them before so I have no idea where to start. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
The easiest way to install Microsoft Office is by using Play On Linux. Go to software center and type playonlinux, it's important to type it without spaces. Install it. Open it, it will ask to install some aditionall packages, install them. Then, click on install(+ icon). In search, enter Office, or something similar, click on version of office that you want, and click install. Follow very simple instructions. Play on Linux will configure everything else for you. I use Microsoft office 2010 on ubuntu 13.10, and it works without problems, and this is the easiest way to install it, since you don't have to configure wine.
Few different options.
Dual-boot. Boot to Windows when you want to run Windows apps. This offers the best compatibility and assurance that it will work as intended.
Run Windows applications inside Wine, a thin software layer that emulates the Windows API allowing many Windows apps to run somewhat natively on Linux. Some apps are more compatible than others, with some refusing to start, but the Wine devs focus pretty heavily on Microsoft Office compatibility. This is also the only method where you don't legally require a Microsoft Windows license (though obviously, do you need a license to run the software, which may impose extra requirements or restrictions). Installing Windows applications in Wine is often as simple as having Wine installed, and running the installer (eg setup.exe) with Wine. But for individual applications you should consult the WineHQ database for custom setup instructions tailored to particular software. That database may also warn your of compatibility glitches with certain software, and there will most likely be glitches.
Run Windows inside a Virtual Machine on Linux (such as VirtualBox). This is the method I would least recommend, because it will be slow and consume huge amounts of memory, and won't integrate at all well with your external OS - the simple act of transferring files from the outer Linux OS into and out of the virtual machine will itself be difficult. The only benefit to it is that you can run an actual copy of Windows simultaneously to your Linux OS.