Lara Jean’s final decision in To All The Boys: Always and Forever will be risky with regard to her relationship with Peter, but it’s ultimately the right decision for her. Netflix’s hit romantic comedy franchise comes to a close with Lara Jean and Peter going off to college. Originally, the pair wanted to go to Stanford together, but after a series of unforeseen circumstances, Lara Jean chooses to go NYU instead.
The third film from the YA books written by Jenny Han with the same title, To All The Boys: Always and Forever, saw Peter and Lara Jean in their final year of high school. Coming off from their predicament in To All The Boys: P.S. I Still Love You where another recipient of the secret letters, John Ambrose McClaren, threatened to break the couple apart, they seemed to be stronger than ever in the threequel. Unfortunately for them, just as they were getting the hang of being in a relationship with each other, another massive change was looming as they go off to college.
After realizing that she didn’t get accepted to Stanford, Lara Jean settled on the thought of going to UC Berkeley; granted that it’s a different school, but the one-hour drive in-between the two campuses wouldn’t be too brutal. Peter even suggested that after a year, she could re-apply to Stanford so they could be together. However, things changed during the school’s New York trip when Lara Jean fell in love with the city. It didn’t help that she got into NYU, presenting her the opportunity to spend the next four years of her life in the East Coast city. The only problem was, both she and Peter knew that maintaining a long-distance relationship would be tough; they prematurely broke up so as to save themselves for later heartbreak. Luckily, things worked out and they patched things up. To All The Boys: Always and Forever didn’t give Lara Jean and Peter’s story a definitive ending despite the film effectively ending the franchise. But no matter what happens to them in the future, Lara Jean made the right choice to stay true to herself and what she really wants.
Prior to learning that she didn’t get into Stanford, Lara Jean had her and Peter’s life laid out in front of her. They would both graduate high school, go to Stanford, marry, buy a house, and then have a happy family life. But it’s a daydream. In reality, no one can really predict what the future holds for them. So, instead of adhering to this fantasy of a perfect journey with Peter, it’s best that she put her own wants and dreams first. That way, if the relationship doesn’t work out in the long run for them, she still has plans for herself going forward. From the get-go, it was Peter who was insistent on her going to Stanford, and To All The Boys: Always and Forever never made it clear why she wanted to study there, other than being with her boyfriend. But the movie, through Margot, floated the idea that Lara Jean was being railroaded into enrolling at Stanford. Not that Peter was really forcing her to do it; in fact, he had been mostly understanding about Lara Jean’s ultimate decision.
In hindsight, the only reason why Lara Jean had a difficult time coming to terms with wanting to go to NYU was because she was afraid that the distance would cause her and Peter to break up. She got a brief taste of what it was like doing a long-distance relationship (LDR) at the beginning of To All The Boys: Always and Forever when she and the Coveys went to South Korea, but it’s worth noting that it’s also the first time she and Peter were apart for an extended period of time. Aside from this, the time difference made their situation much worse. But, if Lara Jean and Peter were able to survive that, it’s an indication that they could also survive sustaining their relationship as they move forward with an LDR for the next four years.