The actress tells PEOPLE that she wants to "chill for a second" before diving back into her work

By Amanda Michelle Steiner
Updated May 14, 2015 12:00 PM
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Credit: Annette Brown/The CW

Now that Nina Dobrev is no longer confined to the rigorous schedule of a TV star, the actress tells PEOPLE that she’s enjoying her newfound free time.

As Dobrev, 26, documents her cross-country road trip/scavenger hunt on Instagram, she says that she’s using the interlude following her run as Elena on The Vampire Diaries to “do the opposite of what I’d been doing for the last six years. I had a very scheduled, regimented life, and I’ve just been taking the whole month to not plan anything and see where life takes me and chill for a second before getting back into it and getting super-focused again.”

Adds Dobrev, “I want to live like a twentysomething!”

RELATED: Nina Dobrev: How the Vampire Diaries Cast and Crew Pranked the Prankster on Her Last Day
The actress goes on to say that leaving the show is a bit like graduating after 12 years of being in high school. “I was on Degrassi: The Next Generation, which was high school, and I was in actual high school for four years, and then I did four years of high school on The Vampire Diaries … I’m ready to graduate and emerge into the real world and be an adult for the first time.

“But before that, I need to be a kid! I’m so excited to find out what’s going to happen next.”

Following her time off, Dobrev is not limiting herself to either film or television and is considering all options when it comes to life after unlife (and life again) on TVD. “I don’t want to put labels or criteria or pressure in any capacity on what I’m doing,” she tells PEOPLE. “I just want to see how everything unfolds. I’m not close-minded in that way. TV is amazing these days, and the quality on television is incredible. I would love to do more TV if it’s good quality, and I would love to do film that I’m passionate about.”

She’s not just limiting herself to acting, either – Dobrev is open to “other business ventures” as well: “There are so many different things that could happen. I’m just going to see where the universe takes me.”

Though Dobrev admits she might look back one day and miss the orderly – if sometimes hectic – life she led as the female lead of TVD, she says that, for now, “I had such a routine that I’m excited to not have one at all.”

More than the routine, however, she’ll miss the cast and crew that made The Vampire Diaries her home since she was 20 years old. “I’m going to miss everyone, and I’m going to miss being on the show, but I’m still going to keep watching,” Dobrev promises, adding that she remains “very excited for the next chapter.”

The finale of The Vampire Diaries airs Thursday at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.

RELATED VIDEO: The Scariest Bites and Kills from The Vampire Diaries

For more on Dobrev’s last days on the set of

The Vampire Diaries , pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday