As someone recently out of college, who struggles with periods of anxiety and the whole "being responsible" thing, I am a big advocate for growing things. Like, getting a plant was revelatory for me. And so, for those of you still in school (or not, whatever), I offer up my favorite herbs that even college students can't kill that easily.
The main reasons that I suggest people like me get a plant — or multiple plants — are thus: Caring for them establishes a routine; you become responsible for a living thing other than yourself (but to a much lesser degree than, say, a dog); and there is almost instant gratification. Plants are constantly growing, and you're helping them do it. The beauty of life, you know?
But it's also true that some plants are more robust than others. If you're just starting out on the whole windowsill garden thing and/or you're trying to exercise a little more control over at least one aspect of your life, there are some herbs that you might want to save until later on. These particular bad boys, however, are hardy and are easily grown on whatever tiny little windowsill you have in your tiny little dorm room or apartment. They can handle the kind of neglect and abuse that only young adults are capable of inflicting on a plant and, best of all, they can be used to make things taste better.
A personal fave. Mint not only smells amazing, but it can also be used for infused water, teas and salads — and it grows like crazy. Like, to the point where it's probably best to grow it in a container all on its own, because it tends to take over gardens when left to roam. But that's why you have it in a little individual pot! On your windowsill!
This guy likes sun and a daily drink of water. Other than that, he's chillin'. I would also suggest rotating the plant every few days because stalks will reach for the sun and get a little unruly and uneven.
When I asked my dad, master of gardens, what plants I should get that won't die easily on me, he immediately suggested thyme. It requires effort to kill this one. People use it for the parts of their gardens that get a lot of foot traffic because it even survives being stepped on a whole lot.
Thyme enjoys anywhere from full sun to partial shade, with a preference for poor, dry soil. Yep, that's right. Poor and dry. Just like my bank account.
Chives tend to be the suggestion for first time growers (or, you know, college students). They grow quickly and are great at surviving all kinds of weather, so if you forget to close your window and there's a cold snap, no worries — chives have got your back.
They do like sun and rich, moist soil, though, so be sure to water them daily; also, don't just use dirt from the ground for them. Use a potting mix from your local plant nursery. If you're feeling lost as to which soil you should use, just ask a human who works there. It's a very straightforward question they all know the answer to.
Now go forth and garden, my green-thumbed friends!