While this school is excellent for many, it's a great mistake for some. There's no way to know if you'll be one of the many or one of the 'some.' It's a very vocal, very intellectual environment, you'll be around a lot of brilliant, quirky, people.
It does truly celebrate the life of the mind.
That being said, there are deep issues with how the university is set up, and I don't think that some students are given the respect or treated with the dignity they deserve. For students who have had traumatic experiences here, there is nowhere to turn to. It is common enough to leave college, lost, but at this school especially it is easy to sentimentalize what is truly a very expensive experience that is not really worth it.
Apart from some really dogged alumni who will defend to death the virtue of this pure university. Most people who arrive realize at some time, that there are a lot of disquieting things about this place. It's not very modern for one thing, and really needs to work on modernizing itself to meet contemporary needs. It seemed to me like a lot of students were fraudulently getting 'excited' about the core when it really was kind of a waste of time.
Also, I know that many people meet their life partners here but often it is because they are scared. They are scared for different reasons but are nevertheless scared. So yeah, if you want to get married in college, this is a great place statistically speaking. However, it is better to come here if you are not attractive as you'll find more people like yourself in this dismal place!!
It's better to stumble around here and get your degree, then try to impress people when they think that this is a state school and only academics care. Or worse. People won't like you because this is a prestigious institution.
Anyways, if you don't mind taking 4 years out of your life to indulge in the life of the mind the library is great. The school is very walkable. The neighborhood has its charms. The safety record is not that bad. You probably have more to fear from other students than 'some neighborhood robber who will hold you up at gunpoint.'
Assuming that nothing major happens, it's a good place to be if you like being around some of the smartest people in the world. Professors do take the time to talk to undergraduates. Many people are quite kind. Sometimes that can all be lost in a second, and you'll feel alone, but it's not a horrific place. Toe around with the administration, try not to care too much, get an air conditioner if you're around in the summer, you might actually enjoy your experience and find yourself employable after 4 years.