This is going to be another short, PSA-style blog post. It’s right there in the title. Don’t use ‘utilize’. Just excise it entirely from your writing. It’s never necessary. People use ‘utilize’ because they think it sounds more official and cooler than ‘use’. It doesn’t and it isn’t. It’s just distracting.
Technically, utilize is used when you want to express that you are using a thing for a function for which it was not originally intended. For example, if you are using a brick as a hammer to pound nails into your dorm wall, you can say, “I utilized a brick as a hammer.” However, you could ALSO say, “I used a brick as a hammer.” Just use “use”. There’s no practical reason, even if it were grammatically correct, to use ‘utilize’. So please stop.