So, Autodesk has pretty much made their stance on the Ribbon interface clear - it's here to stay. We've had a lot of requests from people to turn off the Ribbons, to make the product look the way it did before. You can do that, but you'll be missing out on a lot of new functionality. While it takes some getting used to, those that take the time to understand and embrace the new interface will reap the benefits long-term.
One of our technical experts, Mick Reynolds, put this guide together for those who are starting out. It explains the Ribbon, and breaks down where you can find different tools.
Noted by our tech support team, you can go to Help inside of Civil 3D and there is an option on the Contents tab called "Where is my command?". If you can remember where the command was on the pulldown, it'll tell you where it is on the Ribbon. Combined, the paper and this tip should get you on your way to using Ribbons.
On a personal note, I transition to the new Windows interface - complete with Ribbons for Microsoft products - very soon. And yes, I'm a little scared. Thank goodness I've got great technical folk who'll help me out.