Once you graduate, the learning doesn't stop. Only now, the teachers are your peers, scientific literature, and yourself.
Science is a huge team effort. Behind every ground-breaking discovery sits thousands of people around the world, slogging away for years to build up the knowledge base. Only then can seemingly huge advances be made.
The authors of scientific papers are just people. I used to hold a reverence for published authors in a way that felt like they were beyond me. But they're people, and if you need help, sometimes they are the best people to reach out to.