Well I managed to fix this. I'm just posting an update to help anyone who ran into the same problem.
-I just went to the samsung site > went through the firmware one by one > flashed via odin.
-I ended up getting android kitkat while my phone was rooted so that's pretty cool.
-the app that stuffed up my phone (even after following all the instructions) SoftKey Enabler. It even happened to someone else...next time I'll read the reviews lol.