"I feel sad as if it's the last year of college," Kirke tells PEOPLE

By Emily Strohm
April 29, 2016 03:15 PM

For Jemima Kirke, the end of Girls is bittersweet.

“I feel sad as if it’s the last year of college,” she tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. “That’s exactly how it felt, my last year of college, which was like, ‘S—, why didn’t savor this more? Why did I complain so much? Why didn’t I like apply myself more?’ And now it’s over.”

Jemima Kirke
Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic

HBO‘s hit series is currently in production on its sixth and final season, which will air early next year.

“I wish I had a little more fun with it than I did, and now I am,” says Kirke. “This last season, I really milked it and had a lot of fun and learned a lot. I really enjoyed the process of it, and this season I know I will too.”

And what are Kirke’s plans after the show ends? The actress, 31, reveals she’s “torn about what I want to do in terms of painting or acting.”

The actress received a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in painting and is a successful artist.

“What I am learning, what I didn’t see before, is how they are so similar,” she says of her passions.

“They both inhabit the same world within me. Whatever I employ to do my best work acting or to do my best work painting is really the same ingredient, then I’m more comfortable not choosing because of that realization.”