A lot changes in the transition time between high school and university. For many of us, that involves a big move away from family, possibly to an entirely new city or country, leaving behind the friends you had for the first eighteen years of your life. The very relatable rite of passage — all of the uncertainty, fear, and anticipation that comes with it — plays out in the final film of the beloved To All The Boys trilogy.
For those who haven't binged it yet, Netflix's To All The Boys: Always & Forever follows Lara Jean (Lana Condor) and high-school boyfriend Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo) as they try to navigate the college-planning process in their senior year. The idea is that they'll both go to Stanford together — Lara Jean will study English Lit and Peter will... play lacrosse — but in a baffling admission decision, Peter gets in while Lara Jean gets rejected.
From there, Lara Jean is forced to pivot and consider the other schools she was accepted to, Berkeley and NYU. At first, Berkeley is the clear and obvious choice, as it's on the West Coast, not too far from her family home in Portland, Oregon, and only an hour away from Stanford and Peter. But during a senior class trip to New York City, Lara Jean is instantly swept up in the energy of Manhattan and instead decides that she wants to move across the country to NYU after graduation.
This is just the broad-strokes premise — there are many other conflicts and coming-of-age milestones that play out along the way — but it's important that you pay attention until the very end, because the last scene is pretty symbolic given the context. The series closes with Lara Jean setting up her dorm room at NYU, starting her new life in a new city — with a dramatic new haircut.
The shorter, blunter haircut not only feels like the perfect physical representation of a fresh start — and sort of an anti-breakup cut — but it also makes Lara Jean look more grown-up and ready to tackle her university chapter. Whether or not that involves a loyal long-distance relationship with Peter or a totally different path, you can choose your ending.