Not really, I've just finished an apprenticeship and the degree I'm doing linked nicely to the work I have been doing day in day out for the past 5 years, if anything I'll have a 'head start' with the lab work. It shouldn't take that much time to get back into the theory side. I've started to re-read my old A-level maths books!
Yeah it would be a good idea to! I went to PC world last week looking at loptops. I've been told the library computers are always taken at most uni's so having a your own will help a lot. Also you can watch DVDs if you get bored!