If you reboot or login new and can't see anything to make even the terminal work (even though everything else appears to be in order), you should be able to hit ALT + F1 on your keyboard to force the menu to display on the desktop ... from where you'll then be able to select anything that you need. Depending on your system you may have to wait a few seconds before the menu appears. The ALT + F1 is in lieu of using the Windoze key which causes the Mint Menu to open on your screen.
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