@lilmsmaggie...I feel your pain. The process of framing, focus, and shooting is a bit different than an SLR. I guess I am fortunate that I learned on a rangefinder (Yashica Lynx 1000) and only got an SLR after the Lynx was stolen. From that perspective and from recent experience shooting with meter-less cameras, I can offer a few sanity points:
- Compose "wide". Even the best viewfinder frames are an approximation of the actual framing.
- Practice with the rangefinder focusing. With time you will gain greater skill in detecting the patch and will realize how fast the process can actually be.
- In crummy light learn to zone focus. This is where the use of high ISO films come in.
- Don't sweat the exposure
To elaborate a little on the last point; meter your scene or subject for the first shot and ignore the meter until either you change subjects or the light changes. The importance of instantaneous exposure adjustment is grossly overstated. Remember that even a center-weighted meter is averaging the tones in the frame and giving you a "best guess" that can change dramatically by changing the composition despite the fact that the subject is still reflecting the same values.
This summer I spent several hours shooting a street celebration near my home using a vintage Pentax SV SLR. The SV has no built-in meter so I was using a very old selenium-cell Sekonic. I think I took maybe five meter reading all morning and got decent result from almost all the photos. The light was not changing, so why change the settings!?