I think this rant exemplifies some of the feelings of Cornell students: http://blog.feelourpain.com/archives/000304.html
I too got the "look to your left, look to your right" speech during orientation my freshman year (bio majors, watch out
The fact is, there will be moments of frustration when you feel you got a lower grade than you deserve but I really feel that Cornell pushes you to do your best and although your GPA may not look great on paper, you will realize its value when you go get a job or when you apply to graduate schools. Cornell has a 89% acceptance rate to med schools among its applicants with 3.4 or better GPA's. That is due to the fact that a) med schools are well aware of the rigor of Cornell and b) despite their low GPA's, they got relatively high MCAT scores because Cornell prepared them well.
I went to a top public high school in CA myself but I really don't think I appreciated the amount of effort I put into schoolwork until I got to Cornell. Cornell students will talk with gritted teeth about how difficult it is to get high grades here, but I think one can't help but detect a tinge of pride as well, knowing that they have worked for every A and B they've received here.
Oh yea, what he says about test scores is true. No one gives a damn about test scores here. I came into Cornell with 3.98 UW GPA, 1550, 800,800, 780 and I have a 3.76 GPA right now (not bad, not super either). One of my friends at Cornell had a 1100 on her SAT's and she currently has 3.97 GPA at Cornell while taking many of the same premed courses as me. Work hard, get help when you need to and you'll be fine.