A saying meaning someone may be important in the group they are in, but that the group itself is insignifigant in the grand scheme of things, and once that situation changes they too will be practically unnoticed in their new world. People often come to this realization at various 'coming of age' points such as leaving high school, entering college, leaving college, entering the workforce, being laid off, or entering one's midlife crisis.

Some examples of "big fish in small ponds" are:

  • The valedictorian of a small high school who attends Yale and suddenly realizes she isn't the brightest and best scholar anymore, but just an average student among this much larger, smarter group.
  • Popular head of a big frat graduates and enters the 9-5 workplace only to realize he works a cubicled 9-5 job just like everyone else.
  • The only open Pagan in a small town rules the roost there, but moves to a large city and joins a group, only to find out she's inexperienced and young in comparison to some of the elders in the community.

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