Well you don't have to worry about Grad school anymore, so that is a relief. The car can be fixed, its just a car. Sounds like your tranny overheated causing it to slip and shudder. The root cause most likely is the radiator/cooling system. Might be an air bubble in the pump causing it to cavitate, that is a common problem when people flush the cooling systems on engines. If if happened the way you described that would be the first thing I checked. Also check the oil for water, if it overheated that bad the head gaskets could be blown. If memory serves the Trans cooler is inside the radiator so it would all tie together. Check the Trans fluid for burning. The Trans may be saved with a fluid flush if the bands/solinoids are not damaged badly. These are just educated guesses of course, but start small and work your way to the bigger stuff. (Valve train, etc.)
Good luck and congrats on the Grad school thing.
Attitudes are contagious. Mine might kill you